(Tamil Heritage Trust)
"Koodiyattam - Sanskrit theatre of Kerala"
at 5.30pm on May, 5th, 2012
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.
Koodiyattam is one of the most ancient living theatrical traditions using Sanskrit plays for its production. Koodiyattam finds its expression in 'Koottambalam' (auditorium), an inseparable part of temples in Kerala. This art is practiced and propagated by the Chakkiar community. Hence it is also known by the name – Chakkiar Kootu. Both men and women participate in this tradition and they generally adopt the classics of Kalidasa, Bhasa, Sriharsha, Pallava Mahendra Varma, Kulasekhara, Saktibhadra etc. The stage adoption is elaborate and highly stylized. They follow the stage manuals which is known as Attaprakaram. Their costume is semi realistic and the stage mannerisms are highly stylized. Cymbals, idakka and a unique percussion instrument called 'milavu' are used in the orchestra.
Generally the Nangyars (women) sing while the Nambiyars (male) play the instruments. Nangyars also play the female roles. Language changes from Sanskrit to Prakrit and even to classical Malayalam.
The vachikam of Koodiyattam resembles the Vedic chanting tradition of Kerala. The songs are set to several ancient ragas. The antiquity of Koodiyattam goes to 10th century A.D. It is said that King Kulasekhara Varma structured this art and employed his own Sanskrit plays Tapatisamvaranam and Subhadradhananjayam for the repertory.
Gnanaprakash is a passionate art and cultural enthusiast. He graduated from Anna University and is now working as a systems engineer in CSS Corp Pvt Ltd in Coimbatore. He has documented the profile of nearly 500 carnatic musicians who were born before 1950 in a website with thousands of photographs and audio clippings. He has also archived numerous photographs, audio and video clippings related to the cultural heritage of Kerala. Apart from this he is keenly interested in collecting and archiving 78 RPM gramophone recordings, particularly of the South Indian music.
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