INDIA. Kerala: The folk arts and ritualistic traditions are vital components of Kerala’s culture. Conserving and promoting them will be a significant contribution to the growth of the state’s tourism.
Showcasing the best of Kerala’s vibrant folk and ritualistic art traditions, the 7-day cultural festival ‘Utsavam 2021’, aims to promote Kerala Tourism. The festival got off to a colorful start on 20th February. Over hundreds of artists were featured in the festival in 30 different venues across the state. The festival is organized by Kerala Tourism along with Kerala Folklore Academy, Bharat Bhavan, and District Tourism Promotion Councils.
Inaugurating the event at Nishagandhi Auditorium, Minister for Co-operation and Tourism, Shri Kadakampally Surendran, said that the festival is aimed at preserving the rich and diverse art forms of Kerala. “These folk art and cultural traditions are the tangible legacy of Kerala, handed down through generations. Many of them are now facing the 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,” he further added.
“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 Shri P Bala Kiran IAS.
The highlight of the state-level annual event was the launch of the ‘Utsavam’ Signature song, rendered by noted singer Shri Kavalam Sreekumar. The song is written by Shri.BS Biju and Shri. Matthew Itty has given the music to the song. The inaugural function was followed by a presentation of folk dance and ‘naadan pattu’, led by Shri. C J Kuttappan.
Leading folklore artists representing various traditions were honored at the function with the Utsavam Puraskaram. The artists selected for the honor were Smt T K Baby (Onamkali Pattu), Shri Pramod TA (Pattu & Kaalakali), Shri Padmanabhan TR (Ambatheeradikalari), Shri Sudarshanakumar T (Padayani), Smt Bindu Pazhur (Mudiyettu), Smt Malathi Balan (Uralikoothu), Smt Rajamma A (Pooppada Thullal), Shri K Kunhi Koran (Poorakkali), Shri Dineshan Thekkankooran Peruvannan (Theyyam) and Smt 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 has come as a big support to artists hit by sweeping disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has its grim impact on the cultural domain.