Tunes of tradition

THIRUVANTHAPURAM: Keeping an ear close to ‘mazhamooli’ while it is swayed up and down, the mind throws up umpteen images of rain. It brings back the rhythm of the memories of a carefree childh

Published: 30th March 2012 11:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 09:50 PM   |  A+A-


THIRUVANTHAPURAM: Keeping an ear close to ‘mazhamooli’ while it is swayed up and down, the mind throws up umpteen images of rain. It brings back the rhythm of the memories of a carefree childhood in the countrysides or the moments that held close to our hearts. The musical instrument is far from the technologically advanced pieces of equipment that are readily available in the market nowadays which can produce a number of sounds at the press of a button.

Along with ‘mazhamooli’, numerous traditional instruments were on display at an exhibition at the International Centre for Kerala Studies (ICKS) on the Kerala University campus at Kariavattom on the sidelines of ‘Thudi’, a two-day national seminar on ethnic musical instruments.

There were several rare and also foreign instruments at the exhibition. Said C R Rajagopalan, director of ICKS, “the musical instruments were collected over a period of one month. They were mainly procured from the Nattarivu Padana Kendram at Thrissur and from the personal collection of some people”.

Among the nearly 40  instruments,’ chavittu harmonium’, affixed to the ground, catches your attention at the first glance. The instrument was used for dance-dramas in earlier times. It is noteworthy for its way of operation. Unlike the portable harmoniums that are in vogue at present, the wind controlin  ‘chavittu harmonium’ is done using the feet.

In the category of instruments that stand out for creativity is ‘vithukilukka’ that has the outer-shell of so many seeds tied together to the end of a stick. When it is shaken, the kilukka produces a marvellous tinkling sound.

The fiddle that showcased at the exhibition was fetched from Afghanistan. The ‘djembe’ drum is of African origin while an instrument made of bamboo that produces a sound similar to the tinkling of bells is from Indonesia. ‘Vadichilambu’ that is used during the bharani festival at the Kodungalloor temple was also on display.

Some musical instruments that are traditionally used to tribal groups also find a place among the exhibits. ‘Mulanthudi’ that is popular among the Adiyar tribe, ‘mulakokkara’ of the Kanis, ‘karimbu’ of the Malayar tribe and ‘peekki’ of the Irular tribe come under this section. They are used for specific purposes by the tribal groups.

Other instruments exhibited are makudi, nanthuni, thaalam, ola peeppi, therali, odakuzhal, mulankuzhal, dwaithaara, bamsuri, muramkulukki, nattu veena, kilukki, thudi, cheru chenda, udukku,  mouth organ, guitar, veena and tabla.

The exhibition, which is first of its kind in the centre, concluded on Thursday.


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