Going with the flow

Tulu singer-songwriter Praveen Alva’s recently-released EP Neerh, conveys four stories about different forms of water
Going with the flow

BENGALURU: Tulu singer and songwriter Praveen Alva is very passionate about two things: his mother tongue Tulu, and music. He is bringing both of them together in his debut album Neerh, meaning water. Coming from the coastal part of Karnataka, Alva has a special connection with water and the stories associated with it. “I write songs in Tulu and many of them are in a storytelling form because Tulu is an oral culture, which survives mostly through stories or rituals. It is also my way to make people realise that you can use an ancient language in a contemporary way,” says Alva.

The EP features four songs, all of which are based on different settings of water. “The first song is called Kadal Poiye, which means ocean and sand. The feel of the song is like a happy carnival song. The second is called Posa Ponnu. It’s about a grandmother in a house singing in anticipation of a new bride coming home. In coastal regions, it often pours when it rains and there are instances when a new bride has come home in a boat. We have designed it in such a way that you can hear the sound of rowing; there is a sense of vulnerability in the song,” explains Alva.

The third song is Barsada Rathreydani, which translates to ‘rainy night’ and the song has a lot of sound effects denoting this. Since Tulu is still new to many, Alva has given a lot of importance to getting the sounds right. “Even if someone doesn’t understand the language, the sounds you hear should convey the message. I have grown up listening to Tamil songs by AR Rahman, not understanding the language but even so enjoying the music because I connected with it,” says Alva, whose fourth song is Kadalanghi Sukha Undhugey, meaning happiness across the ocean.

For his debut album, Alva decided to go with one of the four songs due to budget constraints. “I have close to 35-40 songs – around 90 minutes in length. But everything comes at a cost, so I thought why not go slow with it? Though interesting, at the end of the day, it boils down to money,” says Alva, who also runs a Tulu music band called Alva Kuuto.

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The New Indian Express