How Kerala is on song during Onam


‘Maveli naadu vanidum kaalam…..’, the favored Onappattu that celebrates the spirit of Onam, harks backs to an egalitarian previous when the land was dominated by a simply ruler, King Mahabali. Different variations of the song have been sung in numerous methods however the déjà vu it evokes stays the identical, whether or not or not it’s sung by veteran playback singers or the most recent music bands in Kerala.

In cinema, music, dance and artwork, this song has been interpreted by many artistes and every has captured the intrinsic really feel of a harvest competition that resonates with the ethos of the individuals of the State.

James Thakara, frontman of music band Thakara, imbued the lyrics with a colloquial appeal together with his band’s rendering of the lyrics. Says James: “Every time we sing this number, it never fails to strike a rapport. There is an innate music in the lyrics that holds up the idea of an ideal State that we are all striving to achieve.”

A sentiment that is shared by Varun Sunil, founding father of music band Masala Coffee. He says although he is primarily based in Mumbai, as quickly because the verses are hummed or sung, even non-Malayalis get the overall really feel of the song that is soaked within the vibe of Onam. The song was additionally heard within the movie Mahabali (1983), when P Madhuri sang the favored verse underneath the baton of MK Arjunan.

Collecting native flowers for pookkalam  
| Photo Credit:
Thulasi Kakkat

However, the identify of the poet who penned these lyrical strains is mired in debates and discussions. While a piece of students of Malayalam attributes these verses to Sahodaran Ayyappan, a disciple of Sree Narayana Guru, there are others who really feel that the lyrics are older than that.

Poet and educational V Madhusoodanan Nair says the verses are prone to have been composed within the mid-17th or early 18th century by the then ruler of Thrikkakara. “As it happens with many old verses and songs, over the years, the lines may have been changed and interpreted by regional bards,” he says.

Music critic TP Sasthamangalam factors out how songs have at all times been an intrinsic a part of the Onam celebrations by means of the people dance of Thumbithullal, the sturdy beats of the songs during the regatta in Aranmula and the country numbers that should have been sung by kids gathering flowers for the floral carpets made in houses.

Setting the tempo

Poet-lyricist Prabha Varma recollects an upbeat song sung by oarsmen of the Aranmula Vallamkali, a ritualistic, annual boat race that is held yearly in honour of the deity on the Sree Parthasarathy temple in Aranmula.

“The majestic chundanvallams would race forward within the waters whereas the oarsmen sustain the momentum with people songs referred to as vanchi paattu which were tailored by a number of songsters. But my favorite is the song that goes ‘Aranmula Bhagavante ponnu kettiya chundanvallam, attilitta thannu pokum, thottilitta thottu pokum, paadathittal pakshipole parannu pokum’. For all those that grew up on the banks of the Pampa, Onam is the season of flowers, feasts, music and boat races,” he says.

So Kerala is on song during Onam. In the eighties, had been composed particularly for this season, numbers which have develop into part of the collective consciousness of Kerala. Latter-day poets and lyricists have additionally celebrated the competition in verse and plenty of of these seize the myriad methods the competition is celebrated all throughout Kerala.

Tharangini, a recording studio arrange in Thiruvananthapuram by eminent playback singer KJ Yesudas, was maybe the primary to launch a set of songs yearly for Onam. “The first album that came under the label ‘Onappattu’ was released in 1981. It had songs, written by ONV Kurup and composed by Alleppey Ranganath, all sung by Yesudas himself. It was an Onam gift from the maestro,” says TP.

Album of nostalgia

One of the evergreen albums from Tharangini was ‘Ulsava Gaanangal Vol.1’, which had Sreekumaran Thampi writing the strains for Ravindran Master’s music and sung by Yesudas. ‘Uthradappoonilave vaa’, ‘Ennum chirikkunna Sooryante…’, ‘Paayippattattil vallam Kali…’ and ‘Oru nullu kaakkapoo…’ had been immortal songs on this assortment.

Every 12 months, this album of Onam songs, written and composed by nice lyricists and music administrators, was a lot awaited by music lovers. In 1986, ‘Aavanippookkal’ was a record-breaking album that had lyricist Yusufali Kechery teaming up with composer MS Viswanathan, provides the critic.

In that class of songs is ‘Thuyilunaroo, thuyilunaroo’ in a long-playing file launched by HMV, which had lyrics written by Sreekumaran Thampi and music by veteran V Dakshinamoorthy. Sung by Yesudas, the song is on the highest of singer-composer Sithara Krishnakumar’s checklist of favorite Onam-based songs. Although, it was not a festival-based assortment, it continues to reign supreme as a quintessential Onam song.

Malayalam movies have popularised a number of numbers which have develop into the staple for Onam programmes. One such song chosen by bass guitarist Ashok Betty Nelson (Thaikkudam Bridge) and vocalist-songwriter Gowry Lekshmi is ‘Onappaattin’ within the movie Quotation, directed by Vinod Vijayan. Composed by Sabish George, the song’s visuals are a pleasant mélange of vignettes of Onam. ‘Thiruvavani Raavu’ in Jacobinte Swargarajyam is the newest addition to the checklist of Onam songs that grew to become chart-busters. There are a number of such songs that resonate with the festivities.

The attraction of sure olden goldies like ‘Poovili poovili’ and ‘Onappoove’ is common. Both the songs are sung by Yesudas and tuned by Salil Chowdhury. The lyrics of ‘Poovili’ is by Sreekumaran Thampi whereas ‘Onapoove’ by ONV.

The pandemic might need muffled the celebratory songs of Onam, fairly a bit this 12 months, however come the competition, these evergreen songs resonate in each coronary heart.

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