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Tuesday 30 May 2017
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The Performing art of “Kudamoothat kummy” slowly vanishing from the Life style of Tamils

The Performing art of “Kudamoothat kummy” slowly vanishing from the Life style of Tamils

By: K.Vasu

This is a dance form where soft arecanuts are put into beautiful clay pots and dance will be performed synchronized with the beat of the drums. At this time, the nuts put into the pots knock on the walls of the pot and produce tones which combine with the rhythm of the drum beats and provide enjoyable music to the ears of the listeners while the dance itself  giving a refreshing  feeling. This is the ancient and traditional art form “Kudasmoothat kummy”. But what is its current state?

It is well known that, from times several centuries ago, Tamils were in possession of unique Cultural aspects and Art traditions. Thus, Kudamoothatkummy is a traditional art form which is not found in any other area of Sri Lanka. This is an exclusive asset of Puthukudiyiruppu in Mullaitheevu District. It has its origin in the Kudak koothu, found in “Silapathikaram”. Earlier, it was danced in several parts of Vanni. But today, it is becoming redundant.

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In ancient times this art form was used to welcome guests. 8 -12 persons will dance to the melody sung by “Annaavi” whileanother person play a “Miruthangam”, a traditional percussion instrument. Its melody will have the followings notes structure:

thaananna .. naananna.. naanaane.. thanna

thaana thanana thanaane

thaana thanana thanaane

thaananna .. naananna.. naanaane.. thanna

Thaana thanthana thaanaane

It will be a rural song form sung in accordance with the above tune which will progress in style of pacifying woman and ends worshiping God. The dance is performed to this song while the “Miruthangam” is played. When the dance is performed the arecanuts put into the pots which are in the hands of the dancers will knock against the pots and make rhythmic sounds. That sound combines with the music of the Miruthangam  and provide a sweet new music and dance performed entertaining the audience. With that pleasantness the welcoming ceremony will be concluded. This is the tradition of this Art form. But as dances are also performed on streets nowadays this art form is slowly rendered into redundancy.

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In the initial period Annavies such as Ponnar and Super were conserving this Kudamootrhatkummy. After their demise, only two persons, Rasarathinam Annaviyar in Puthukkudiyiruppu and Rasenthiram Annaviyar in Peraru are  maintaingn this Art Form.As the songs which belong this formare not documented, they remain only in the memory of these two Annavies. In all its likelihoods, these songs will become totally extinct after their death.

However  a joint endeavour is being undertaken by the Puthukudiyiruppu DivisionalSecretariat, Odduchuddan Divisional Secretariat, the cultural Officer of the area, Veerasingam Pratheeban and senior journalist Aruna Selvathurai, to document several Art Forms including this. In this connection, a documentation effort had been undertaken in the Annual Cultural Journal of  Puthukudiyiruppu Divisional Secretariat, to document this Art form.

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Meanwhile, several representatives of people and public organizations are raising their protesting voices against the deliberate destruction of culture, art and other identities of Tamils. But here an Art form is going redundant right in front of our eyes. Ways and means should be arranged by granting Incentives to the Annavies in order to pass this art to the next generation. If only the youth society is aware of this art, it could preserve it. But the lovers of this art are concerned about who will do anything about it. This art form is not to be seen, even in the Cultural Festivals held in Northern Province except in Puthukudiyiruppu and Odduchuddan.

Hence, Hon. Minister of  Arts and cultural Affairs of NPC, what are you going to do about it?


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