A project in coöperation with Manimaran, a master parai player from Tamil Nadu India. It is a fusion between the traditional instrument, the parai, and western jazz- and fusion music. It is both a musical and a social project giving a voice to the parai both in and outside of India. The parai symbolizes the fight for equal rights of Dalit communities (the untouchables) in India. The project consists of the creation of new compositions that result in a cd- recording and finally a world tour: Freedom Tour.
“The parai: Then and now, the instrument plays a key role in anti-caste struggle
Manimaran, a parai artist and founder of Bhuddar Kalai Kuzhu, describes the political, social and cinematic history of the instrument and how it is a symbol of caste annihilation. The parai in the last few decades, has through persistent fight, become a symbol for social justice. For years now, there has been a movement to refuse the “impurity” attributed to it by caste society and instead celebrate it as an instrument of caste annihilation. A percussion instrument made from cow-hide, caste society declared it an object associated only with death over the years. Within their notions of the supposed “untouchability” of Dalit communities, those who have for generations done the caste-based work of beating the parai at funerals and the parai itself have been sidelined as “inauspicious”. This violence also erases the actual widespread use of the parai from temple festivals to weddings to important occasions at home, signifying joy, revelry and community.”