Lakshadweep’s Fulliparava unleashes a musical high tide at Malabar lit fest

Shabeer Ali, Shafeek Kiltan and Shamweel of Fulliparava perform on the final day of the Malabar Literature Festival at Kozhikode Beach. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kozhikode: “Enna vidu, Enna vidu Hey Gunaisa…” an appeal by a fish, tangled on the fishing hook, to the hook to set her free. The hook replies, “Nakkethum Sadippam Bayyalo, Mone Karayadka, Nikkurutham Ninnene,” meaning, “I can't do anything; there is somebody on the land controlling me…”

These are the opening lines of a song by the music band Fulliparava from Lakshadweep. The band, recently formed, takes its name from a spotted fish often seen in the waters of the islands. The band consists of three friends, all musicians, hailing from Kiltan Island, namely, Shabeer Ali, Shafeek Kiltan, and Shamweel. Fulliparava graced the stage on the final day of the Malabar Literature Festival, held recently at Kozhikode Beach and organized by Book Plus. The band transported the audience to a world of folk songs and indigenous music from Lakshadweep.

Their songs primarily draw from island folk songs and proverbs, which are deeply intertwined with the sea and fishing. Shabeer Ali says, “The islands are losing these precious songs and proverbs, which are our cultural heritage passed down through generations. So, we gather them from the elders of the island and books, infusing them with modern musical trends while preserving their essence and original wording.”

The band was formed in 2022, thanks to the efforts of Sumangala Damodaran, a professor from Ambedkar University, Delhi, and Malayalam poet Anwar Ali. Initially, the band was named Khahrawan and focused on Qawwali songs and ghazals before shifting their focus to folk music.

The band members share a deep friendship. “We don't need to write lyrics for the songs because everything is already there,” says Shafeeque.

One of their popular songs is 'Pallippull', which is a medley of proverbs commonly heard on the islands. Their creative arrangement of proverbs garnered enthusiastic applause from the audience. Another notable song is 'Moosa Bala', where a man calls Moosa to prepare for a fishing trip, as the rain has subsided and the sea is calm. The only song unrelated to the sea is 'Omanappoovu', which tells the tale of a beautiful young lady. Charmed by her beauty, the Kannur king, who ruled the islands in those days, learns about her and eventually marries her, taking her to Kannur.

All of the band’s songs revolve around the lives of fishermen who brave the rough waves, while their women anxiously await their return, carefully watching the direction of the winds.

“We aim to revive our traditional songs and stories through music,” says the team. In addition to his work with Fulliparava, Shafeeq is also a playback singer. He contributed to the song ‘Pakkirichi’ in the movie ‘Flesh,’ directed by Ayisha Sulthana. This song, too, draws from the ballads of the islands and was composed by musician Kailas Menon.

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