Saturday, July 13, 2024


Folk Music


Lavani is a musical discussion. It has something in common with the bow-song. It is performed in the months of April-May to herald the coming of spring chiefly in Thanjavur district, the culturally important areas in Tiruchirappalli district and in Madurai district.

One team argues that Manmatha or Kaman, the god of love was burnt to death by lord Shiva and that it was a physical act reducing him to ashes. The other team argues that it was an allegory. What was burnt was Kama or Carnal desire and maintains that Kaman never died and that he has ingrained himself in the heart of countless souls. In counter-arguments and rebuttals, ideas or religion and ethics are put forward to the accompaniment of drum music provided by each of the singers in the group. References are made to the Puranas and the Shastras. The performance lasts a whole night and groups of singers treat the crowd to great entertainment by their fluency of thought and speech. At the end of the Lavani performance, a replica of Manmathas mount is burnt. The earlier and original Kaman pandigai of the Tamils is said to have consisted of dirge songs in front of a symbolical representation of Manmatha.