As the world is gearing up to celebrate the year’s Folklore Day on August 22, a group of folklore enthusiasts in Palakkad is ecstatic over the district’s own folklore art form, ‘Poraattu Kali’. As part of the three-day Folklore Day celebrations conducted by ‘Kalikkoottam’, a folklore enthusiasts’ group based in Shekhareepuram, Palakkad, a demonstration of ‘Poraattu Kali’ was performed by Mannur Chandran, Manikandan and Biju.
Mannur Chandran, a noted ‘Poraattu Kali’ exponent from the district, has travelled to almost all States in India to perform the art form. The energetic, 65-year-old artist, becomes eloquent when he starts speaking about his art. “The art form originated in Palakkad among the ‘Paanan’ community some 400 years ago. A couple from the community went to the forest for collecting bamboo. That time, the wild animals came to attack them. They made a fire circle and started singing and dancing inside it. Listening to this, the goddess came and rescued them. This is the myth behind the origin of this art form,” he says.
The art form in which the performer moves in a particular fashion back and forth in accordance with the song, incorporates drums (chenda) and ‘ilathaalam’, a miniature version of cymbals. The traditional songs are in native Palakkad slang. Most of the songs are like conversation between two characters. Newer songs are being added to the ‘Poraattu Kali’. The art form has close resemblance to ‘Therukkoothu’, a Tamil folklore art form.