Making music with the bamboo

Passing by

Karimboli — the bamboo band from Kerala, which was formed five years back, plays Kerala folk music and tribal percussions. The 14 members of the band mix folklores with modern tunes and have a huge influence of Hindustani and Carnatic music.

However, their specialty lies in the instruments they use. They use instruments like drum, flute, rain stick, xylophone, onavillu (a bow-shaped musical instrument used in Kerala), which are solely made of bamboos by the band members themselves.

“Music is our god and we believe that whatever instrument we use to make music, should be made up of the purest fibre and what other than bamboo is more pure?” asks Shashi Janakala, one of the percussionists of the band.

“This tradition of using bamboo to make music has been there in our tradition. Our ancestors taught us the art and we are pursuing it ever since,” Janakala, who recently performed in the city, tells Metrolife.

Coming from different districts of Kerala and different walks of life, their passion for music and desire to promote indigenous music is what connects them together.

“Every band member differs individually. Their professions are different. There are lawyers, teachers, students and some workers who make art pieces out of bamboos. But we all have the same fervour for music. We want to introduce our tribal music and tradition to the modern world,” says Janakala.

Apart from the many shows in other parts of the country, the band has also travelled to countries like United States and Singapore, where their music was well received. But according to Janakala, there are some constraints which are holding them from flourishing in the mainstream.

“Some of the members of our band come from a poor background. Most of the shows we do are for charity and so not much fund is being raised. There is lack of money. We are also not able to market ourselves well and this is a big drawback in today’s time”.

But whatever difficulties come their way, “the band is ready to face them and will put their best to promote to their music and tradition”.

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