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About Badaga music along with the unique dance form, I read this very interesting article



[H]Ethai Amman in Kovai

Sakshi [edited]




amma dance

Seventy kilometers north of Coimbatore, in the Nilgiris hill town of Ooty, resides a community of people known as the Badagas. The Badagas trace their ancestry back to Hethai Amman, a pious woman from Mysore who fled the city when a Muslim king wanted her as his prize. Theirs is a somewhat cloistered community, stretching across some 500 villages in the Nilgiri Hills, which make the border of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Badagas have their own customs, codes, traditions and language. Dharma, faith, compassion and service—these are the hallmarks of the Badaga. They will proudly tell you that one will not find a single beggar among their "brothers and sisters" and rarely are any of their children born handicapped. (They attribute both of these to their culture, which nurtures service-mindedness)....
A central element of Badaga culture is music and dance. When inspired, the Badaga will spontaneously begin improvising melodies and lyrics. "It is our way of expressing our fondness for someone," explains Smt. Sivagami, a Badaga.
Their often-ecstatic music comes in the form of call-and-response, and some say the Badaga even have a form of telepathy, which enables them to improvise cohesively. The words and melodies are ever new, but the dance steps remain the same, regardless of the occasion. The Badaga sing and dance at weddings, births, funerals and nearly all other occasions.
The Badaga's lead singer was a lady with a piercing voice who kept time with hand cymbals as she sang. The entire time, she barely ever opened her eyes. Watching her and the rest of the Badaga—and their slow, graceful, dream-like dance—Amma commented that it was as if they were meditating.
In fact, many of her lyrics were about [Hethai] Amma:
Amma, can you hear what we are saying?
Has it reached you?
You are the Great Giver.
We are spreading happiness
By singing about you.
Come running to us. Come running.
ithai amman
The music was an onslaught of drums and cymbals. It was an earthy, powerful and glorious ruckus to which the Badaga's synchronized slow-motion dance served as a stirring and poignant counterpoint.
When Amma finished darshan at 3:00 a.m., the Badaga did not stop. With their music resonating all around her, Amma stood up on her peetham and pranamed. Then, just as Amma was about to step down and walk up to her room, she stopped and slowly began turning in a circle in imitation of the Badaga's dance. As music, applause and ecstatic cries filled the chilly hillside air, Amma walked up to her room.
"For us that was the happiest moment," Smt. Sivagami says of Amma's short dance. "We felt that Amma was really one with our community."
The Badaga sang and danced again on the last night of darshan for nearly three hours. Their devotion engulfed the entire program site. It was as if everyone was suddenly a Badaga. As Amma's three days of programs in Kovai came to a close, one Badagar spoke over the sound system: "Amma, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for these past three days. You have awoken the glory of the old days. This is a moment our community will never forget."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Respected sakshi, I thank you for gathering a wonderful heritage of our culture but there is a mythe that acts major in degrading our value
we people are not migrated from mysore, a complete fall, and badaga are the actual children of nilgiris from stoneage even before to it, for ref please refer purananooru. Please apologies for suggestions

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