Editor's note: If you close your eyes and listen to the forest, the sounds first come inseparably, until a ear trained in silences can separate this living orchestra. Music is never far from nature, even if music making today has become a severely electronic industry. In Yahoo's special focus on looking at the inseparability of man and nature as one's heritage, meet the Bamboo Symphony — whose instruments and music are replicas-in-motion of nature's dialogues. And they live their bamboo beliefs right down to their concert attire!
Kerala's own bamboo symphony
Growing up bathing in the Athirapally falls, Unnikrishna Pakkanar relished the songs of the forest closely. Hearing the Malabar hornbill and its many calls. Different when waiting for rain and or when he thought the bird was dreaming. He went on to produce her sound on an instrument the group made themselves called Amba.
The unique spell cast on him infected many others like Ullash kumar and became the genesis of the Bamboo Symphony. The group called themselves MulaPadum Ravu ( The Bamboo That Sings through the night).
At one level the idea was to listen to the forest and create a living orchestra. Not the clang of electronica but the direct sound as would come from through the bamboo reed. As Ullash poetically highlights, how they listened through the bamboo.
I am a bamboo and the breeze is forcing me to sing, the bamboo has no words, but my song is playing in the forests, in the sholas and grasslands, it is echoing from the mountains and is replaying over and over again…
A different music, a different musical instrument
Secondly they made their own instruments and sourced for ideas from indigenous instruments (A checklist in the local language includes Pullan Kuzhal, Maram, Tudi, Njalipru, Muzhanthudi, Tom, Moonge Tharang, Mazhamuli, Neruppu, Tik tik, Moonge Nombi)
Thirdly music for them's a living thing. Composing it meant no use of electricity. In fact see their kurtas which they wear while performing. Also made from bamboo fibre.
For this group, (some of them environmental activists) conservation of bamboo and the grasses of the Western ghats are an indivisible part of creating simple melodies. They say of this chain relationship: 'Grasslands means water. We respect grass. And bamboo is one of the oldest there is. As for music, they believe music originates in nature and we can imitate it, variate with it on perfectly bio degradable instruments as well .
For more on their work see: http://www.pakkanar.com/
Contact their coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org 9986712532, coordinator Bamboo Symphony