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Method of making traditional musical instruments by the Paliyans

Come and see how the flute, one of the traditional musical instruments of the tribal people, is made. Everyone knows about the flute instrument. Everyone knows only God Kannan played the flute well. I am not complaining about that. However, it is the opinion of our elders that our forefathers played a better flute than the one who played Mayakannan. We cannot find them in any book and why not even on the website? Let's keep this aside, how can we simply make such a flute instrument? Here we go:

(Photo taken by Mr. Dinesh Pandi)

Things that are required:

1. A piece of bamboo

2. Pen

3. A smooth iron rod two feet long

4. Wood Stove with Fire

This type of musical instrument is prepared from two types of plant materials

1. Bamboo

2. Eththai- ஈத்தை (in Paliyar language)

Elders say that when singing with Eththai, it is very bouncy, soft, and beautiful, and the music is as sweet as honey flowing to the ears of the listener. The bamboo is cut to a slightly longer length so that it is equal on both sides, i.e. about a cubit, it is easy to play with. In this way, it is necessary to correctly predict the head and the quarter of the piece of bamboo.

Wood Stove

After making such a prediction, a small circle should be made with a piece of charcoal or a pen, leaving a recess a little more than half a thumb size (1) inch from the head. Then light the fire in the oven and wait till it gets a good fire, then put only one end of the smooth iron rod in the fire and heat it well. Then hold the bamboo still. A well-heated rod should be pressed on the bamboo that we marked in the pen. If you do this continuously, the hole will be created in the bamboo. When making holes in the bamboo, you should not touch the bottom of the bamboo and take care not to rub it.

This is how the flute looks

Successfully created a hole in the head. Let's go to the bottom side. Now a quarter (1.5) inch should be added a little more than three-quarters of a thumb size and dot with a pen and pierced with a hot rod. We should be very careful while holding the bamboo not to rub the other side with the hot wire. now we are going to remove the block in the middle of the bamboo. Keep the bamboo slightly straight so we can see the block and hold the bamboo tightly between two legs, now you can put a hole in the bamboo and remove the block. In this way, all the blocks in the middle of the bamboo should be removed. When you do this, the flute will look like the picture below.

This is how the flute should look from the hole above

We have to keep the bamboo in water and see if the water flow is smooth in the drilled hole. Now we have made the flute. To know whether the air is moving smoothly, you can test by putting a flute in the smoke from the fire or by putting smoke in the incense.

The water should flow smoothly

This is how the flute can be made simply. In this flute

● If there is a 6 hole then it is a 5 Kattai ( கட்டை)

● If there is a 7 hole then it is a 6 Kattai ( கட்டை)

● If there is 9 hole it is also called 8 Kattai ( கட்டை)

We also add a lip-blowing hole to this.

As mentioned above, if the head and bottom of the bamboo are thick, no one can easily break the flute. Now you too can make a flute in this simple way and soak in the rain of music.

This article was created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.


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