Beats of the land as Malayalis groove
TNIE speaks to Athul Narukara, the lead singer of the band Soul of Folk, which is behind the hit song Pala Palli Thirupalli from the movie Kaduva
Malayalis are grooving to the beats of a folk song — Pala Palli Thirupalli from the Prithviraj-starrer Kaduva. The new chartbuster is making rounds on social media and has already received 13 million views on YouTube.
The voice behind the hit song, Malappuram-native Athul Narukara, who is a member of the band Soul of Folk, is on cloud nine. The 25-year-old says it is welcoming to see folk songs getting space in commercial films like Kaduva.
Though he made his debut as a playback singer through the film, Puzhu, he has earned popularity through the latest hit Pala Palli Thirupalli. “Nowadays, as many singers are entering showbiz, their voices are more recognised than their faces. Apart from singing, I was also featured in the song, which is a recognition to musicians,” adds the youngster.
Soul of Folk, the 15-member band, got the chance to create the promo song by accident. Ace cinematographer and director Santhosh Sivan spotted the group after listening to their songs on social media. It was in 2020.
“He called me up for his upcoming Netflix project, an anthology series based on M T Vasudevan Nair’s stories. He is directing one of the segments titled Abhayam Thedi Veendum. I have written two and rendered voices to three songs in it. He introduced me to music director Jakes Bejoy, the music director of Kaduva. I had once sung the song, which he calls Aavo Dhamano, in front of Jakes. He liked it and then used it for the film.”
The song known for its beats and powerful lyrics is penned by Santhosh Varma and Sreehari Tharayil. According to Athul, the acceptance of folk songs in a commercial film adds respect for ethnic artists too. According to him, it gives hope to youngsters like him hailing from various indigenous communities across the state to take up their traditional folk art and perform.
“Other film industries, including Tamil, use their folk music in films. These songs are punchy and vocal about their politics. It is welcoming that the Malayalam film industry is also giving space to our folk songs. Being a youngster who hails from a rural village, Narukara, in Malappuram, my popularity is also a boost for others not to give up their traditional music,” Athul adds.
However, his wish is to take his folk music to international platforms. He dreams to be known as an independent musician. “I wish the government gave us more venues to perform at major cultural or sports events in the country. It will promote the folk arts to the global audience too,” he concludes.