When you hear tribal music, you immediately associate with the Kalakatha song by Prithviraj and BijuMenon-starrer “Ayyappanum and Koshyum” or Thillele, the Irular tribal festival song in “Kumbalangi Nights”.
But Srutin Lal, co-founder of the Archival Research Project (ARPO), says these songs only partially capture the essence of tribal music, while the true, unbridled abundance of tribal community music is still limited to dense forests with little exposure. to the modern outside world.
ARPO, an independent non-profit organization, is an effort to preserve, protect and promote the music of Kerala’s tribal communities.
It is also a unique, noble attempt to raise awareness of the language and culture of tribal communities largely unknown outside of their closed communities.
ARPO Earthlore, a tribal music concert where Irulas of Palakkad and Kattunayakana will perform at the Bolgatti Palace on Sunday evening.
“We want the raw music, sounds and rhythms of the tribes to reach the people without any interference or outside interference. We are currently focusing on the Irulas and Kattunayakan tribal communities.
ARPO is also trying to trace and study the songs and music of every tribe in Kerala, which is a gigantic task given the fact that the music was not written down for posterity.
In addition, the younger generation of tribal communities is not very eager to carry the songs or knowledge of their ancestors, so there is a risk of losing all this,” says Srutin.
The music and rhythms of each community are unique.
“Tribal communities use instruments made from natural materials they get from the forest, which makes their music very unique. However, what they have in common is that they convey their happiness, sadness and triumph in the form of dance and music,” he said.
Although the government has taken some initiatives to preserve the rich traditions of the tribes and popularize their culture, they have not yet been widely adopted.
“We’re trying to get international attention so that the music of the tribes here will resonate with the world,” he said.
Charu Harikrishnan is the percussionist, while musicians Shrikant Hariharan and Julian Shoming also contributed to the project.
The organization hopes to digitally archive the music and hold similar concerts regularly in the coming months to preserve a rare cultural heritage that might otherwise be lost to oblivion.