Heart beats from God's Own Country
After two decades of celebrating the divine rhythm culture of Kerala, the Keli Rhythm Festival is back to enthral audiences with three percussion ensembles representing the aural art tradition of Kerala
Year after year, the annual Keli Rhythm Festival has run to packed houses, with over 60% of their audiences being non-Keralites. After 20 successful years, this year the festival is back with some of the greatest drummers of Kerala, who will be showcasing their talent at the three-day rhythm festival, starting tomorrow.
To mark the successful completion of 20 years, they had a three-day Children’s rhythm festival featuring around 100 prodigies. The second phase was a festival of Thayambaka (a solo performance of percussion instrument chenda in which the main player in the centre improvises rhythmically on the beats of half-a-dozen or a few more chenda players around) exploring its vanishing and rare traditions led by the young Thayambaka exponent Panamanna Sasi. This festival will present three percussion ensembles of Kerala in an exploration of the purity of this aural art tradition.
“A total of 150 drummers have come down from Kerala to be part of this festival. The first and second day of the festival will be Chenda oriented, while the third day will focus on the Thimala (another percussion instrument),” reveals K Ramachandran, festival organiser. When Ramachandran came to Mumbai in 1990, he starting missing the music and culture that existed in Kerala and so, decided to start a festival dedicated to it.
“The response was fantastic. Each year people start enquiring about the festival, from October, and the festival runs to packed audiences each time with people even standing through the festival to witness it. We have about 1,000 to 1,500 people each year and even giants like Zakir Hussain attend the festival. Last year, he walked on the stage and touched the feet of some of the drummers; it’s a moment they will never forget,” reveals Ramachandran.
Rhythm music traverses boundaries of culture and community and hence, he feels, that this festival reaches out to such a large audience. “This music is like the heart beat of Kerala. But, all can enjoy it. One does not need any training in music to enjoy it. Perhaps, that’s why it is so popular,” he adds.
On January 10 to 12 At Keli, 201, Baba Nivas, Plot No 74, Sector 19, Nerul. Tickets Free entry passes available at Rhythm House, Prithvi Theatre, Giri Stores, Maharashtra Watch Company, Dadar.
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