Earthlore Workshop at Kochi Muziris Biennale 2022-23
Updated: Apr 6
The Earthlore Tribal Music Workshop facilitated by ARPO at the ABC Art Room of Kochi Muziris Biennale in February, 2023 was a new form of engagement between the Irular and Kattunaykkar musicians and the general public. Deviating from the stage-performance format, this experience was intended to raise awareness and appreciation about the music culture of the two communities, through immersive and interactive experiences for the participants.
Kattunaykkar artists included Raghu M, Unni TT, Vijayan V, Ajith Babu, Abhishek, Ranjith, Srijosh and Kesavan. The session on Kattunaykkar music traditions was led by Raghu M and the Sododami Kala Sangham of Thirunelli. Irula artists included Swaminathan, Murugan, Kavitha, Kaliyappan, Murugan, Maruthi . Swaminathan, Murugan and Kavitha who are part of the Azad Kala Sangham of Agali, Attappadi, led the session on Irula music.
The two-day workshop was held under the green canopies of the ABC Art Room, at DLF Cabral Yard. The indigenous musicians interacted with participants in areas such as their language, themes of their music, musical instruments, dance, their lived experiences and so on. The music video produced by ARPO on the Irular community was premiered at the venue at the Biennale pavilion.
Both days ended with a riveting joint performance by the Irular and Kattunaykkar at Aspinwall, the main venue of the Kochi Biennale. In the backdrop of artist Asim Waqif’s bamboo-based installation ‘Improvise’, dozens of people actively joined in the energetic performance to sing and dance along with the performers. The artists were given a tour of the Biennale venues by artist Blaise Joseph, who is also the Programme Manager of the ABC Artroom and the workshop was concluded with a brief exchange session with the artists on their experience.
A major part of the programme was possible with funding by the Faizal and Shabana Foundation. ARPO successfully crowdsourced additional funds for the food and accommodation for the artists through its social media follower base. The initiative was also supported by the Tribal Complex, Ernakulam.