With festive spirits already high a day before Pongal, the Chennai Sangamam – Namma Oor Thiruvizha on Saturday evening added an immersive cultural experience across various locations in the city.
It will be continued till January 17. The festival is slated to see nearly 600 artistes perform across 16 different locations in the city .
At the Island Grounds, a relay of various folk performances were put up for the packed audience which included Paraiyattam, Maanattam, Mayilattam, Periya melam, Silambattam, Poikaal Gudhirai, Devarattam, Kalari, Villupaatu and Kaaliyattam. Music Composer Santhosh Narayanan also participated and performed.
“The applause and encouragement here has given us a big boost. We are performing after many years in the city and we are enjoying the energy of the audience,” said R. Thenmozhi, a Karagattam artiste from Thanjavur who performed with her team of eight women.
Muthalip Sakthi from Cuddalore, who performed Poikal Guthirai, said that the folk art was a disappearing one, and that performing opportunities like this would give them more visibility. “Following this, we hope that more people seek us out to perform at events. There’s a lot to admire and enjoy in these traditional folk art forms,” he noted.
For several members of the audience, it was their first time to witness some of these folk art forms. “This is a unique experience,” N. Geetha, a resident of T. Nagar. Many people who had come to visit the 47th India Tourism and Industrial Trade Fair stayed back to watch the performances as a part of the Chennai Sangamam.
In smaller venues like Semmozhi Poonga, people from the neighbouring areas came together to enjoy a slew of folk dance and music performances.
Sajin, a Kalari artiste from Marthandam who performed as a part of the Jetking Kalari group, said that people who attended were eager to know more about Kalari and came up to speak to them. At the open air auditorium inside the park, a Pambai Attam performance by Sigaram Kalai Kuzhu from Krishnagiri was met with loud applause and cheering.
“We are happy that people are enjoying our performance and hope that they become more aware of such traditional art forms,” said S.S. Selvam, who performed with his 15 member group.