With a growing realisation that engagement between with potential stakeholders and the communities can play a crucial role in helping revive interest in the tradition of oral storytelling, especially when it comes to myths and community history, beliefs and practices, we are now exploring this area of work in our organisation.
The initiation of our community-based programmes from 2012 onwards in some of the communities of Eastern Himalayan region (Sikkim, Darjeeling and Manipur) and South India (Nilgiris) is providing us a sound base to make this take this realisation forward.
While this is a new area of exploration, in terms of conducting field tours, we are hopeful that such activities and interactions with communities will help bridge the old and the new worlds, ultimately bringing the relevance of tribal myths, legends and stories in the modern context - be it environment or sustainable development. Over the years, we have worked with various storytellers from different tribal communities of India, namely, Lepcha, Bhutia, Limboo, Rai and Kwoica of the Eastern Himalayan region, Paniyar and Kuruba of the Nilgiris, Nayakapodu of Andhra Pradesh, Meyeti of Manipur, Kodiyas of Orissa, Potwa and Toto of West Bengal and Soliga and Lambaani of Karnataka. It has been a considerably time-taking process of networking and organising sessions with the storytellers and including them in the Festival of Indigenous Storytellers - our annual Storytelling Festival held across various venues across the country.
Over time, we have strongly felt the need to engage with the entire community, as opposed to specific storyelling members of a community, in the long-run, if the tradition is to be sustained or the need for its preservation realised. However, this need has had to be pulled out due to several budgetary and networking constraints. Also because Acoustic Traditional was functioning as an independent Project before 2009.
As such we are starting out with a few communities we are now comfortable with in terms of communication and getting things organised and a few key objectives, which we hope to evolve with time, as our relationships with the communities grow stronger:
Make tribal storytelling accessible
Engage with the entire community and work with them to create opportunities where storytelling could be facilitated
Look into supporting the community in terms of providing econimic benefits (home stays, sale of crafts, etc.)
Provide an organic framework for learning
Integrate Community Live (our community-based programme) in the course of field tours
Create an opportunity to experience (and understand) the community which is not possible any other way
For more information on field tours, please contact us through the contact section. Please note that announcements will be made in January for tours which will start from February onwards.
Copyright, Acoustic Traditional, 2011