Kochi's Cherai decks up for a multicultaral folk art splash

Conceived by Vypeen MLA K N Unnikrishnan, the event aims to boost tourism as well as conserve cultural heritage
Image of folk artists performing
Image of folk artists performing

The sun-kissed shore of Vypeen is all set to come alive with a vibrant celebration of folk art forms on Wednesday. Titled Vypeen Vasantholsavam, the two-day cultural fest will feature over 120 artists from five states. 

Conceived by Vypeen MLA K N Unnikrishnan, the event aims to boost tourism as well as conserve cultural heritage. Folk artists from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Odisha will perform at Voitto Villas & Workation Retreat near Cherai beach on Wednesday and Thursday (starting from 5 pm). 

The first day will see the beach reverberating with the rhythmic beats of Tamil Nadu’s Thappattam and the graceful movements of Silambattam. Kerala’s Maari Theyyam and the colourful Pulikali will also take centre stage. 

On the second day, Karnataka’s Dollu Kunitha and Kamsale, Odisha’s Dalkhai, and the energetic Gussadi from Telangana will be showcased. “Of these, five are tribal art forms and one has Dalit roots,” says Chandra Dasan, the founder of Lokadharmi Nadakaveedu, which is coordinating the fest in collaboration with the Thanjavur South Zone Cultural Centre. 

“The Maari Theyyam, a ritualistic performance from Kasaragod, will be performed by artist K Raju and group. Traditionally, the Theyyam visits each household in the village, but here, the performance will revolve around the last leg of the rendition. After the performance, there will be an interactive session with artists as well. The audience can ask questions about the roots of the art forms and their stories, the rituals associated with them, and the traditional way of practising them.” 

Kerala’s vibrant Pulikali, synonymous with Onam celebrations, will be performed by K V Ganesh and group. Thappattam, an ancient art form from Tamil Nadu, will resonate with the beat of Vinod Bharathi Thanjavoor and group. The thappu drum made of buffalo skin lies at the core of this art form, which dates back nearly 4,000 years.

Silambattam, a traditional martial art form from Tamil Nadu, involves skilful use of bamboo sticks. It’s a practice rooted in the ancient city of Madurai. Karnataka’s Dollu Kunitha, performed by K L Vijay Shimoga and group, is a temple/festival art form. Kamsale, a centuries-old folk dance from the state, stands out with its fusion of dance, music, and rhythm, primarily performed by artists from the Kuruba tribe. 

Gussadi, a folk art of Telangana’s Gond tribe, is usually held during festivals, harvest seasons and wedding celebrations. Odisha’s Dalkahai, a tribal art form, will be performed by Swurup Singh and group. In this unique art form, women worship Goddess Durga, praying for the long life and prosperity of their brothers.

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