Art can be defined as an expression of anything with skill or in a
well-disciplined form. It may either be in the form of music, instruments, performing arts
or any other form. The origin of music can be traced back to the primitive days when
man imitated by raising his sounds similar to bird-calls, animal noises etc for different
purposes like banishment of wild animals, exorcise evil spirits or even for emotional
satisfaction. Voices thus produces by man had different tones of high or low pitch.
In course of time languages which had a pivotal role in the form of thaala (rhythm),
raga (melody) and measured verses, influenced these voices and music emerged
depending on the occasion.
In Kerala, arts associated with the temple are music in the form of
Sopana-Sangeetha (sung in front of the Deity), musical instruments,
ritualistic arts like Theyyam, Thira etc, performing arts like
Kathakali, Koothu, Krishnanaattam, Thullal etc.
In temples of Kerala, either for Sopaana-Sangeetha or in playing instruments,
thaala (rhythm) has an essential part, as it brings out the enchanting rhythmic beauty.
For ages, the rich and vibrant culture of Kerala has
intrigued people worldwide. The songs and dances of the people, their ballads,
their rituals and their intellectual pursuits. Truly, the real treasures of Kerala
lay in the cultural heritage of its people. Kerala has its own art forms which
reflect the life and outlook of the people. From the renowned Kathakali, considered
to be the complete art form as it synthesizes all that is best in the fields of drama,
music and dance, to the folk dances which are reflections of the rhythmic impulses of
Recently, the UNESCO brought to light, a less known art
form - Koodiyattom - and declared it as one among the 'Masterpieces of the Oral and
Intangible Heritage of Humanity'. It is for the first time in the history of UNESCO that
select art forms across the world have been given this recognition as part of its effort
to safeguard expressions of Oral Heritage and traditional culture which are in danger of
disappearing due to the effects of globalization.