Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!

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Online slideshow Glimpses of the ISME 2006 workshop presentation titled "Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!" presented at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, 18 June 2006 >> Slideshow >>

ISME Abstract "Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!"

The music of Kerala is a mix of conventional and innovative lessons. It can attract and hold the attention of young learners anywhere in the world. Located in the south-west of India, the state of Kerala prides itself of the country’s highest literacy rate. Tradition and modernity amalgamate in its astonishing range of performing arts whose common denominator is a type of music which deserves to be known more widely. Its scalability in terms of duration and complexity as well as its scope for creativity make it accessible to all learners simply by using their voices and hands with “bhava” feeling.

The early art forms from which today’s music, dance and drama of Kerala are derived were not based on treatises or lessons found in printed textbooks. Instead, they evolved and spread with the help of oral training methods. As in other cultures, the performing arts relate to the activities of daily life, religious or social customs, and the seasonal cycles on which the sowing and harvesting of various produces depend.

Among the musics of India, a mere fraction has so far been harnessed beyond the concert and dance stage at home and abroad. Its attraction among exponents of global popular culture such as fusion and “Bollywood”-inspired videoclips is largely due to its exotic (now familiar) instrumental sounds and “feel”. The intrinsic value of aspects other than the theories pertaining to “raga” modes and “tala” rhythmic cycles are yet to be explored.

This ISME session features the outcome of “Sam, Reflection, Gathering Together!”, a research project initiated at the Bern College of the Arts (HKB, Switzerland) in collaboration with Natanakairali, a centre where Kerala’s performing traditions flourish through personalized teaching.

Artists and students from all over Kerala participated in joint programmes and interviews conducted in July 2005 for the purpose of sharing their teaching and learning experiences. Enjoyable in their own right, some of their methods are conducive to key learning goals in terms of concentration, cooperation or memory. There is ample scope for introducing some of these lessons in classrooms, adult education and in groups with special needs (e.g. the physically or mentally handicapped and persons participating in rehabilitation programmes).