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Durable Link to this BlogTuesday, June 30, 2009

An Unique Workshop on Konkani Songs

A three day workshop to teach traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes in Konkani was organized in Bangalore recently.

As is known, Konkani people are spread out in all the five states, south of Vindhyas, viz Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Tamilnadu. They had to flee from Goa to escape forcible conversion to Christianity by the repressive Portuguese in the 17th century. But they proudly guarded their religion, customs, rituals and most importantly their language all these five centuries. A minority language (except in Goa, a very small state,where it is a state language), in all the states, it is greatly influenced by the regional languages, but has retained its identity. Majority of Konkanis reside in Karnataka, more than 25 lakhs, as per latest census figures, out of about five million of Konkani speaking population world over.

Konkani has remained a spoken language throughout. Traditional and folk songs are fast disappearing due to globalization and all- dominating English language. English has spread as "spoken language" in many metropolitan homes, replacing the ancient Konkani. This has caused lot of concern to some lovers of Konkani language,literature and traditions. Occasionally some institutions organize workshops to teach surviving traditional Konkani songs. The Mangalore based "Konkani bhas ani Sanskriti Pratishthan" (estd 1985) is frequently organizing poet-meets, seminars and workshops to create awareness about fast diminishing mother tongue. The workshop (Karyashala) for teaching children's songs, was such an unique attempt.

The workshop was organized at Kashimath in Malleshwaram between 25th and 27th June 2009. Thirty two participants, most of them housewives from seven districts of Karnataka, attended the workshop enthusiastically. They were eager to learn ancient lullabies and nursery rhymes their grand old ancestors sang while massaging, bathing, feeding and putting to sleep the young ones. The resource person was Chitra Shirali from Dharwad, a well known Konkani radio artiste and writer, assisted ably by Nandita Moodabidri. They taught twenty odd long forgotten lullabies, rhymes and kid-songs. P. Dayananda Pai, a known philanthropist sponsored the program. The radio and television broadcast the news. It proposed to bring out and broadcast the well-knitted program some time in future.

Basti Vaman Shenoy, founder of "Konkani Bhas ani Sanskriti Parishthan" has one more feather in his cap by organizing this program for housewives. A homely and close-to-heart program, it will live forever through the voice of those women who have participated, who are sure to sing and teach them to kids in their respective homes. An attempt is being made to bring out these lullabies and nursery rhymes in cassette and CD form.

See Also:
• Synopsis of Suragya Sar -Garland of Suragi Flowers

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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