Folk

Ye Haa… How Badaga folk music stayed in tune with times

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SP Balasubrahmanyam, who was recently awarded Padma Vibhushan, has highly spoken about the Badaga language whenever he got an opportunity | Image – Eunice Dhivya

The word music to ordinary Indian ears is largely about film scores. Other genres need specific prefixes such as ‘folk’, ‘classical’, ‘pop’, ‘indie’ or ‘Carnatic’.

While classical and pop do get their due in popular media, folk or indigenous music rarely gets the attention, unless the film industry embraces it.

Folk or indigenous music forms generally use their own, self-made musical instruments, mostly made of natural material such as wood, climbers, bones of dead animals, etc. And indigenous music used only on occasions like festivals or deaths have even a much more limited audience. Such music is not meant for casual entertainment. Due to this, they are unable to travel outside a particular ethnic group or even find appreciation among the youths.

Film scores, on the other hand, have a huge impact and reach. So much so that certain indigenous musical forms such as ‘dappankuthu’ became mainstream after cinema embraced it.

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