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KERALA Nadan Pattukal

The Paanan and Kuruvan tribes are ancient tribes from the hills. They have a strong lineage
in Kerala’s history, and appear in many folklore and mythological stories. Traditionally they
had an audience with the Kochi Royal family and were regularly called upon to perform
for the Kochi King. Considered adept in arts such as that of palm reading and face reading,
they would offer these as services to the Royal family and were honoured members of the
King’s court.

The story goes that in ancient times, Lord Vishnu called upon a Paanan by the name of
Thiruvaranga and asked him to awaken Lord Shiva who was in deep meditation. The Paanan, through
his art, managed to awaken Lord Shiva who bestowed upon him forests, fields, hills, and crops,
and told the Paanan to be the keeper and protector of them. Lord Shiva also blessed
him with knowledge of the art and a unique tonal voice quality. Thus,
the Paanan became adept in singing Kuruthi Paatu, Krishna Leela and also contemporary songs,
and even sang songs of the warriors and tribal community Chiefs of North Kerala.

The performer Satkala Vijayan lives in Mulanthuruthy, Kerala. He is endeavouring
to protect, encourage, archive, educate and preserve these ancient cultural
treasures through his performances and writings. He is proficient in playing
traditional instruments such as the Chenda, Tudi, Uddiku, Kanjira and Eddaka.

The song you hear is called “Akshara Paatu,” which is a song about the Malayalam Alphabet,
with a virtuous value attached to each alphabet. For example, A for Amma (mother, where everything begins),
Aa for Acharya (pranaams to the Guru), Ee for Enganam (coexisting with the community).


  • Lead Voice and Idakka - Satkala Vijayan
  • Backing Voices - Uttara S.Menon, Harishree Jayaraj
  • Mridangam - Sumesh Menon
  • Coordinator - Elavoor Anil Kumar (Illam Kalakendram)