Villu Paatu or the Bow Song.
Wordfully Yours. 1st Mumbai International Story Telling Festival.
The liveliest acts at the festival was the Villu Paatu storytellers from Neyyatinkara, a small town near Trivandrum in Kerala.
Kesavan Nair, the lead story teller of the group started of in the best South Indian English one can imagine. He spoke about the Bow and the costumes that catches the attention of the listeners first.
The Bow Song evolved in the old hunting communities in the Southern most part of India and Northern part of Sri Lanka. After the day's hunt, they used the bow, the pots, narrated stories and sang songs around the fire as the meat cooked. That should also explain the leopard-skin clothes.
The story narration and music was not the usual, stereotype tribal Jumbaho Jumbaho but regular. The story was about unity in diversity among the different castes, cultures and religions of Kerala. To use his example, the intermingling of people like how the three seas meet at Kanyakumari.
It was the story of a brahmin scholar from Vikramaditya's court who unknowingly marries a Paraya or lower caste girl. He abandons his caste and moves to Kerala, on the banks on the Nila or Bharatpuzha and raises a family with 11 children. They disperse due to certain circumstances and are brought up by different communities.
Nice thought. Only if Kerala would learn from this message.
The performance was great. However, the bow was mostly for visual effect. The sound of the bow was drowned by electronic instruments. The songs were in Malayalam.
No animals were harmed in the narration of this story.