Kerala Folklore
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"Melodies from God's Own Country: Exploring the Enchanting World of Kerala Folk Songs"

Kerala, a state in South India, has a rich tradition of folk songs that reflect the cultural, social, and historical aspects of the region. These folk songs are an integral part of Kerala's vibrant folk music heritage and are performed on various occasions, including festivals, weddings, and social gatherings. Here is a detailed description of Kerala's folk songs

Thiruvathira Pattu: Thiruvathira Pattu is a traditional folk song form performed by women during the Thiruvathira festival, which is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. The songs celebrate marital bliss and are sung in groups around a ceremonial lamp. Thiruvathira Pattu is characterized by its melodic tunes, poetic lyrics, and synchronized dance movements.

Onappattu: Onappattu is a genre of folk songs associated with the harvest festival called Onam. These songs celebrate the arrival of the mythical King Mahabali and the joyous spirit of the festival. Onappattu songs are often sung in a call-and-response style, with a lead singer singing a line and the rest of the group responding in unison. They are accompanied by traditional percussion instruments like chenda and elathalam

Villadichan Pattu: Villadichan Pattu, also known as Villu Pattu, is a unique folk song form performed by a community of artists called "Villadichan." These artists travel from village to village, narrating stories through their songs. Villadichan Pattu combines storytelling, music, and dance. The songs touch upon various themes such as love, social issues, and mythology. The lead artist sings while playing the villu, a stringed musical instrument, and is accompanied by a chorus and percussion instruments.

Nadan Pattu: Nadan Pattu, meaning "folk songs" in Malayalam, is a general term that encompasses various folk song forms in Kerala. These songs are deeply rooted in the rural traditions and reflect the cultural heritage of the region. Nadan Pattu songs cover a wide range of topics, including love, work songs, lullabies, ballads, and religious themes. They are usually sung in a simple and melodic style. THis songs always depict the love, affection, moral values , beauty of nature, and sometimes it reflects frustration of the labourer against his landlord

"kallalithiri monththyappinne

kolothum vathilkkal chellalo

kolothum vathukkal chennalppinne

karyam kondithiri chollalo"

(If I drunk a bit toddy I can move towards the bunglow of landlord If I reached the main gate of the bunglow I can scold the landlord).

In some verses the picture of poverty in the house hold and, the over suppression by senior most uncles

"ammavan vanneela pathayam thuranneela

enthente maveli onam vannu!"

("uncle didn't come the granary didn't open, then why onam is here, lord maveli?" Onam is the natoinal festival of kerala. The lines shows the distress of a junior member of joint family system, where senior most uncle is the ultimate authority. The verbal meaning hoes like this, Since uncle didnt come, we have to starve in this festival days too). All these nadan pattu songs are picturize the culture of ancient kerala.


Mappila Pattu: Mappila Pattu is a unique genre of folk songs associated with the Muslim community of Kerala known as the Mappilas. These songs blend elements of Arabic, Persian, and Malayalam languages. Mappila Pattu is known for its poetic lyrics that often focus on love, spirituality, and social issues. They are accompanied by traditional instruments such as the harmonium, tabla, and violin. Kerala's folk songs are an essential part of the state's cultural fabric, preserving the traditions and stories of the region. They continue to be passed down through generations and are cherished for their lyrical beauty, emotional depth, and the sense of unity and joy they bring to the communities

Vadakkan Pattu

Vadakkan Pattu, also known as Northern Ballads, is a traditional narrative folk song form that originated in the northern regions of Kerala, India. Vadakkan Pattu literally translates to "songs of the north" and is deeply rooted in the martial and heroic traditions of the region. It is a unique art form that combines storytelling, music, and dance to depict tales of valor, bravery, and romance. Vadakkan Pattu songs revolve around the legends and folklore of the medieval period in Kerala, particularly focusing on the lives and adventures of warriors and heroes. These ballads glorify the historical characters and their exploits, often intertwining mythological elements with historical events. The narratives are rich in detail, with intricate storylines, vivid descriptions, and emotive dialogues

The themes covered in Vadakkan Pattu range from battles and conquests to love and betrayal. The heroes portrayed in these ballads are known as "Chekavars" and are renowned for their martial skills, honor, and chivalry. The ballads often highlight the struggles and conflicts faced by these warriors, their loyalty to their kingdoms, and their undying love for their partners

The language used in Vadakkan Pattu is Malayalam, the regional language of Kerala. The lyrics of these ballads are poetic and lyrical, employing metaphors, similes, and other literary devices to evoke imagery and emotions. The songs are composed in a melodic manner, with distinct rhythms and tunes associated with different segments of the narrative.The popularity of Vadakkan Pattu has decreased, and it is now mostly seen in cultural events, festivals, and stage performances. Vadakkan Pattu holds immense cultural significance as it showcases the historical and mythological heritage of Kerala. It preserves the tales of valor and bravery, keeping alive the legends and folklore associated with the northern regions of the state. Efforts have been made to revive and promote Vadakkan Pattu to ensure its preservation as an essential part of Kerala's folk music and cultural legacy.