Dappan Koothu (also known as Dappanguthu, or simply koothu) is a folk dance and music genre with an emphasis on percussion performed in the South Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It has become one of several popular genres employed in film music, mainly in Kannada and Tamil cinema.
Unlike classical Indian dances such as yakshagana, bharatnatyam or kathakali, koothu is relatively informal in that it has no structured, repeated steps and dancers do not learn through formal dance classes. It shares its emphasis on percussion with older folk dances of Tamil Nadu, such as kummi and kolattam.
A percussion instrument called the TamaTe in Kannada or Tharai thappattai in Tamil, resembling a Ganesh tambourine without the jingles, is often used for Dappaankuthu. Unlike normal tambourines, this requires a wooden stick to play. The urumee drum is also often used. A customised trumpet is also sometimes employed. The rhythm of the Dappan koothu is often signified by a mix of beat patterns layered and flowing into one another. Other percussion instruments may be employed in Dappan koothu. The most-used time signature for dappan koothu songs is 6
Outfit and embellishments
Even though any attire can be worn when one dances the Dappaankuthu, a lungi (colourful cloth wrapped around the waist) is commonly worn and most preferable, with the bottom raised and folded upwards over the knees in the middle. Ideally, it should be worn over pattapatti (lined trousers). The shirt worn would have only two or three buttons in place, while the chest portion is left wide open and at the lower part of the shirt is knotted (using the two portions of the shirt). It is also common to tie a handkerchief or bandana around one's forehead and/or wrist.
Facial expressions are employed for effect by the dancers. For example, the tongue, folded over and held in position with the front teeth, is brought out at regular intervals.
In Male Mahadeshwara hills, Mysore, Karnataka, the music for this dance will be played for money, and the believers can dance for longer time. Particularly in this hill, there is a saying that god feels happy if his believers dance for him.
In popular culture
- The genre has been used in several films of Tamil cinema, and was noticeably used in the songs "Boyz" and "Bird Flu" by M.I.A. on her 2007 album Kala.
List of Dappankoothu songs
- Thillandogiri Dappankoothu from Thillana Mohanambal (1968) (Tamil)
- Podhuvaga En Manasu from Murattu Kalai (1980) (Tamil)
- Chikku Bukku Raile from Gentleman (1993) (Tamil) (only small portion of the whole song)
- Thirupathi Ezhumalai Venkatasa from Ninaivirukkum Varai (1999) (Tamil)
- Inthadi Kappakilange from Dhool (2003) (Tamil)
- Annamalai Thambi from Pudhiya Geethai (2003) (Tamil)
- Vaadi Vaadi from Sachein (2005) (Tamil)
- Innisai from Varalaru (2006) (only small portion of the whole song)
- Nakku Mukka from Kadhalil Vizhunthen (2008) (Tamil)
- Ottha Sollala from Aadukalam (2011) (Tamil)
- Lungi Dance from Chennai Express (2013) (Hindi)
- Royapuram Peter from Maan Karate (2014) (Tamil)
- Danga Maari (2015) (Tamil)
- Indha Ponnungale Ippadithan from Varuthapadatha Vaalibar Sangam (2014) (Tamil)
- Uthungada Sangu from Velai Illa Pattadhari (2014) (Tamil)
- Thara local song from Maari (2015) (Tamil)
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