Kerala to Kolkata – bamboo band to perform soon
The Public Relations Society of India, Kolkata Chapter is all set to celebrate PRSI's diamond jubilee through a unique musical on February 11 at Nazrul Tirtha Amphitheatre, New Town. The Vayali Folk Group from Kerala (India's first ever 'Bamboo' band) will perform on this evening.
Vayali, a group of young people from the cultural capital of Kerala, is engaged in preserving their roots. The team was formed in 2004 for a common reason, to start learning the traditional systems practiced in and around the banks of River Nila and sharing the same with the younger generation. The members use indigenous percussion instruments and colorful costumes to create foot-tapping music to preserve the dying Valluvanadan tradition and culture. Valluvanad is a culturally-rich place near Thrissur, famous for folk art, folklore and classical art forms like Kathakali and Mohiniyattam. As age old people say, culture nourishes in nature. They got affiliated to Kerala Sangeetha Nadaka Academy, Kerala Folklore Academy, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) New Delhi, Nehru Yuva Kendra, South Zone Cultural Center (SZCC) Thanjavur and National Folklore Support Centre Chennai.
The early days of 'Vayali' were very challenging. Most of the members were from the socially backward communities and found it hard to earn a livelihood. Driven by their passion for folklore, they organised themselves.They started performing at various places thus promoting the folklore and getting compensated financially. 'Vayali' now became a source of livelihood for the members. They went about diligently collecting various folk songs and art forms from the local masters. They faced stiff opposition from the communities too but then they soon realised the importance of preserving the traditional knowledge. They now had the support of the communities, which really invigorated them. In November 2007 the Vayali team was blessed with a fantastic opportunity to perform at the 'Traditional Music and Rhythm Festival' organised by the Cultural Department of Japan. They showcased the Valluvanadan art forms at the festival. They learned about the bamboo musical instruments of the Japanese and their world famous bamboo orchestra. This deeply inspired them and lead to the creation of the 'Vayali Bamboo Orchestra'. They realised that they had to preserve the bamboo culture in India and set about researching the various traditional bamboo instruments. Flute is the lead instrument of the 'Vayali Bamboo Orchestra'. The other instruments are Mulam Chenda, Mulam Thudi, and Mazha Mooli. They now have a small team which has developed an expertise in 5 bamboo instruments of the tribals in Kerala. The team has created some truly innovative instruments too.
The team is all set to entertain the music buffs from Kolkata Soumyajit Mahapatra, Chairman, PRSI, Kolkata Chapter, says, "We usually have experienced various artists from the popular music scene but Vayali's performance in the city of joy is a fresh try for sure."