Ireland & Kerala: The Musical Connection?
They say it’s a small world. And several instances are indeed proving this true. Now who would have imagined and Kerala- the tiny coastal state in south west India and Ireland located thousands of miles away in the British Isles had cultural links?
This startling fact has been brought to light by Canberra- based archaeologist and PhD student, Billy O Foghlu who was amazed to find a distinct connection between Irish musical horns (dating back to iron-age) and traditional, ethnic wind instruments of Kerala.
What proved to be a blessing for Foghlu while his research was in progress, was a panel of carvings at the famous Sanchi stupa in Madhya Pradesh. In that particular freize a celebration is depicted at great length.
A group of musicians,( European by their appearance ), are shown playing two carynxes –in harmony with local musicians.
The carnyx is a brass tube generally five to six feet in length which is topped off with an animal head. It was in vogue in ancient Europe between 300BC and 300 AD. The fact that musical instruments resembling the carnyx have been found on alien shores indicate trade links between the two countries, even thousands of years ago.
Interestingly the Keralite kompu too is a C-shaped horn, and much like its European cousin produces a discordant sound.
“I was astonished to find what I thought to be dead soundscapes alive and living in Kerala today. The musical traditions of south India, with horns such as the kompu, are a great insight into musical cultures in Europe’s prehistory.
And, because Indian instruments are usually recycled and not laid down as offerings, the artefacts in Europe are also an important insight into the soundscapes of India’s past,” Foghlu concluded.
No wonder it has often been said that music transcends all barriers of time and space!!!!