PAYYANUR KOLKALI

Stick dance of Payyanur

Payyanur Kolkali (literally, stick dance of Payyanur) is a folk art form that is believed to have existed for more than a millennium. Charadukuthikali is a type of Kolkali popular at Payyanur and nearby areas. This art form originated from Kalaripayattu, the martial art form of Kerala. The dancers will have the 'kola' or the stick in their hands attached to a string and as they move around in tune with the song and weave patterns. Aspinwall had an opportunity to witness this amazing art form performed by Mahadevadesai Vayanasala Kolkali Sangham, Payyanur.

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Video: Kochi-Muziris Biennale - Mahadevadesai Vayanasala Kolkali Sangham, Payyanur.

"Here is an art form that is an intrinsic part of life in Payyannur and in turn one that finds its roots in life in the locale. Back home it's almost customary to learn the art form when you are a child itself. I myself am one of the lucky ones to have learnt it. Yet, not much is known about it beyond the walls of the town. Payyannur Kolkali is something that I hold close to my heart. I was always troubled by the fact that not much of authentic study has been done on the art form. Also, for decades now it has been outshined by other more popular versions of Kolkali, particularly the Mappila Kolkali. We wanted to bring this ancient version of the Kolkali into the limelight."

SURESH PODUVAL, author of documentary 'Oru Deshathinte Kala' traces the history and nuances of Payyannur Kolkali.

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Photo: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

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"It's a temple art form and is also a martial art form. Its songs, for instance, revolves around the legends surrounding the Payyannur Subramanya Swamy temple. The art form is customarily performed in Vettakorumakan temples in the locality as the deity Oorpazhasi is said to be very fond of watching it. It's a martial art form because it is believed to have been taught to create a rhythmic sense in children who learnt Kathakali in the many kalaris in the locale. Kalaripayattu practitioners have for long played Payyannur Kolkali as a relaxation technique."

SURESH PODUVAL, author of documentary 'Oru Deshathinte Kala' traces the history and nuances of Payyannur Kolkali.

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Photo: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

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"Payyannur Kolkali has similarities to the movements in Thiruvathirakali and Kaikottikali but it is most closely related to Poorakali in its steps and bodily expressions and in its music too."

SURESH PODUVAL, author of documentary 'Oru Deshathinte Kala' traces the history and nuances of Payyannur Kolkali.

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Photo: Kochi-Muziris Biennale


PHOTO: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

TEXT: Kochi-Muziris Biennale & The Hindu

VIDEO: Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Tags: Kerala | India | Fort Cochin | New Year | Payyanur Kolkali | Dance | Kalaripayattu | Martial Art

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