Folk arts fest ‘Utsavam 2021’ gets off to a colourful start across Kerala

Folk arts fest ‘Utsavam 2021’ gets off to a colourful start across Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, February 21, 2021

Showcasing the best of Kerala’s vibrant folk and ritualistic arts traditions, the 7-day cultural festival "Utsavam 2021" got off to a colourful start yesterday evening, featuring hundreds of artistes in 30 venues across the state.

Inaugurating the event at Nishagandhi Auditorium here, State Minister for Co-operation, Tourism and Devaswoms Kadakampally Surendran said the festival is aimed at preserving the rich and diverse art forms of Kerala.

“These folk arts and cultural traditions are the tangible legacy of Kerala, handed down through generations. Many of them are now facing threat of sliding into oblivion. The Government considers it as its responsibility to preserve them by extending all support to artists, many of whom are struggling to keep these traditions alive," the Minister said.

The festival is organized by Kerala Tourism together with Kerala Folklore Academy, Bharat Bhavan and District Tourism Promotion Councils.

V K Prasanth, MLA presided over the function. Reena K S, Councillor, and Kerala Folklore Academy Chairman C J Kuttappan spoke at the function.

The folk arts and ritualistic traditions are vital components of Kerala’s culture and conserving and promoting them would also contribute to the growth of tourism, said Rani George, Principal Secretary, Tourism.

Kerala’s cultural heritage is rich and vibrant, and by organizing Útsavam’ the State Tourism Department has been fulfilling its responsibility in preserving these traditions by extending support to these artists, said Tourism Director P Bala Kiran.

The highlight of the state-level roll-out of the annual event was the launch of Utsavam signature song, rendered by noted singer Kavalam Sreekumar. Written by B S Biju, music for the song is set by Mathew Itty. The inaugural function was followed by a presentation of folk dance and naadan pattu, led by C J Kuttappan.

Leading folklore artistes representing various traditions were honoured at the function with the Utsavam Puraskaram. The artists selected for the honour are T K Baby (Onamkali Pattu), Pramod TA (Pattu & Kaalakali), Padmanabhan TR (Ambatheeradikalari), Sudarshanakumar T (Padayani), Bindu Pazhur (Mudiyettu), Malathi Balan (Uralikoothu), Rajamma A (Pooppada Thullal), K Kunhi Koran (Poorakkali), Dineshan Thekkankooran Peruvannan (Theyyam) and Umbichi K (Mangalam kali).

The festival offers a venue for scores of performers representing a wide variety of folk, tribal and ethnic traditions that flourished in different parts of the state. This year, the event assumes added significance as it has come as a big support to artistes hit by sweeping disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had its grim impact on the cultural domain as well.

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