‘Tamils should create their own musical tradition’
[TamilNet, Monday, 04 August 2003, 04:38 GMT]
“As a people with a history of having refined folk arts and literature, the Tamils should create a musical tradition uniquely theirs, and great musicians and intellectuals should help to create such a tradition," said “Thamilmani Mullaimani” Mr. V. Subramaniam, speaking at a two-day regional literary festival organized by the Vavuniya Cultural Federation Saturday.
“The Tamil people of the North East in Sri Lanka have a distinct cultural and artistic tradition and an awareness of that uniqueness,” said Mr. Subramaniam. “They have over the years praised and preserved that tradition. However, they have no distinct musical tradition, and have been following the Carnatic musical tradition of South India.”
Mr. Subramaniam, who was the inaugural speaker at the literary festival, said that folk arts and literature enriched the lives of Tamils to whom the village was an integral part of life. “The inroads made by Western culture and the entry of Cinema into Tamil lives affected the development of such folk arts. As a result, folk literature and folk drama were thought to be only for the poorer segment of the people. Saying that these art forms belonged to the uneducated, the public shunned folk literature and drama. Everyone instead sang the praises for modern drama.”
Mr. Subramaniam continued: “Though the modern drama made inroads into the Sinhalese traditional arts, the Sinhalese never let their traditional arts become extinct. Instead they took their traditional arts in new directions. Led by intellectuals like the late Professor Ediriweera Saratchandra, there was a renaissance in Sinhalese folk art.
“Through the efforts of the late Professor S. Vithiyanandan, Tamil folk drama was spread into cities. Professor Vithiyanandan organized a conference where all those producing folk drama gathered and brought about a new awareness of folk arts.
“Mr. Aruna Sellathurai from Mullaitivu produced the ‘Mullaimodi’ folk drama program, which has been staged in Colombo. Today, many people are talking about folk drama and carrying out detailed research on such folk arts.”
Professor (Mrs) A. Maheswaran, the Vice-Chancellor of the Jaffna University’s Vavuniya branch was the chief guest at the literary event. A book on traditional drama history titled “Pandara Vannian—Kuruvichcha Nachiyar” written by artist and writer, Mr. Aruna Sellathurai, was released at the event.
Mr. Subramaniam released the book and said Mr. Sellathurai’s book reflected the history of Pandara Vannian. He said that the book would be of great benefit not only to artists but researchers in history as well.