Thiyyadi Raman Nambiar has been awarded the Kerala Folklore Academy Fellowship for his efforts to revive the near-extinct Ayyappan Thiyyattu
Generally the accolade an artiste receives serves to spotlight an artwork kind which may in any other case go unrecognised. The choice of Thiyyadi Raman Nambiar for the Kerala Folklore Academy’s Fellowship turns the highlight on the vanishing artwork of Ayyappan Thiyyattu.
As soon as staged in temples and Namboodiri illams or properties as an providing, the artwork kind is a robust instance of thouryatrika, a mixture of geetha (music), vadya (devices) and nritta (dance). Students describe it as a holistic artwork kind as a result of, other than the above three, it additionally demonstrates portray and abhinaya. References to Ayyappan Thiyyattu are discovered within the historic Vadakkan pattu (the ballads of Malabar) and sanghakkali, the hybrid artwork carried out by Namboodiris.
The practitioners of Ayyappan Thiyyattu are Thiyyadi Nambiars, a group of ambalavasis (temple-dwellers) discovered primarily in central and north Kerala. Lower than 200 members from eight ancestral households are nonetheless round, of whom fewer than 10 practise the artwork, which is a part of their kuladharma or household vocation.
The rituals concerned in Ayyappan Thiyyattu are complicated and prolonged, and the remuneration low, making it inconceivable for descendants of conventional households to proceed the apply. They’ve moved on to greater training and full-time jobs. Raman Nambiar too had a day job in BPCL for 35 years, earlier than he resigned a number of years in the past to focus absolutely on the apply.
The day-long efficiency begins with the development of the shamiana and continues until the grand denouement late within the night.
There are 4 principal segments — kalam, pattu, koothu and komaram. A kalam, drawn on the ground below the shamiana, offers a type of spatial orientation to the efficiency. 5 pure colors are used: white, black, inexperienced, yellow and crimson, all obtained from nature. The agility with which the determine of Ayyappan in numerous moods is drawn is breathtaking, and the completed kalam seems to be three-dimensional. Ayyappan is usually drawn on a white horse, a tiger, or accompanied by his spouse Prabha and son Sathyaka. The flowery train takes up a complete day.
After the kalam is prepared, the pattu or music begins, with the leitmotif primarily being the life story of Ayyappa. The music, within the sopana type with traces of ragas equivalent to Sankarabharanam, Sahana, Paadi and Puranira, is accompanied by the para, a variant of the chenda drum, in addition to by the chenda and cymbals.
In Koodiyattam type
The subsequent stage has a lot in frequent with Koodiyattam, the place the performing Nambiar wears the make-up of Nandikeswara whereas donning the headgear and prishtom (waist material) worn by the Chakyar.
The narration is especially via mudras within the typical Koodiyattam type. Probably the most fascinating side of that is watching the Nambiar get into costume and make-up in full view of the spectators, which provides to the expertise.
The final stage of the efficiency is the dramatic entry of the komaram or oracle, usually the preferred a part of the occasion. The oracle jumps boisterously on to the kalam, sword in hand, accompanied by a flourish of drums to create an out-of-body atmosphere. He then proceeds to destroy the rigorously painted kalam in addition to the shamiana erected over it in what will be interpreted as a homage to transience.
A member of the Mulakunnathukavu Thiyyadi household, Raman Nambiar has been enacting this four-part efficiency for the previous 5 a long time. Educated by his father and different veterans, Raman is, maybe, the one artiste as we speak who’s nicely versed in all of the departments of Ayyappan Thiyyattu equivalent to Udayasthama Koothu, Pantheerayiram, Kanalattam, and many others.
Realising that the artwork kind is nearing extinction in his personal group, Raman has enrolled two college students from different communities. In truth, his dedication is such that he retired early solely to jot down Ayyappan Thiyyattu, the one accessible treatise on the artwork kind, which was revealed by Kerala Bhasha Institute in 2013. He has taken the efficiency to many secular platforms throughout universities and establishments worldwide.
The fellowship from the Folklore Academy is a well-deserved recognition for a person with out whose single-minded dedication this artwork kind would have pale into oblivion.
The author and tradition critic
is a skilled musician