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ARPO Completes Major Cultural Documentation Project for Three Tribal Communities

1 Feb 2024

ARPO documented the music and culture of three tribal communities in the Western Ghats for the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, in a prestigious collaboration. Videos and documentaries featuring their unique instruments, songs, and traditions were created.

The Archival and Research Project (ARPO) has successfully concluded a significant documentation initiative for the Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi, contributing to the nation-wide Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. The project focused on three distinct tribal communities residing in the southern reaches of the Western Ghats: the Irular (Attappady) of Kerala, the Jenu Kuruba community of Coorg, Karnataka, and the Kotha tribe of Ooty, Tamil Nadu.

ARPO's meticulous documentation process captured the essence of these communities' cultural heritage. In-depth video recordings were created showcasing the unique musical instruments employed by each tribe. Additionally, three captivating documentaries were produced, offering a comprehensive look at each community's traditions, songs, and way of life.

The project was started in August 2023, and finished in February 2024.

The project entailed extensive fieldwork, with a team of 10-15 ARPO members traveling to each location. Notably, community members themselves served as local coordinators, actively participating in the documentation process. This collaboration presented a valuable opportunity for these communities to preserve their songs in a digital format for posterity.

Commenting on the project, Sruthin Lal, Executive Director of ARPO, who helmed the initiative, expressed his honor: "We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi, the apex institution for performing arts in our country, on such a momentous project. Documenting the rich cultural heritage of these tribal communities has been a truly enriching experience."

This collaborative effort by ARPO and the Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi not only safeguards the cultural legacy of these tribal communities but also contributes to a broader understanding and appreciation of India's cultural diversity. A screening of these documentaries will be held later in Delhi.

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