Parai attam: Drumming up change was not easy, but it’s happening

Parai Tamil Nadu
Parai, a percussion instrument, used to be played during funeral processions and was performed only by Dalits
On a February Friday, in an unassuming alley outside a marriage hall in Madurai, two kids break into a jig in tune with the beating of the drums. Inside the hall, the coy bride is waiting for her groom, her heart beating hard. As guests start crowding the venue, both her heartbeats and the sound of the drums grow louder. By now, even passersby couldn’t help but stop to catch a glimpse of the drummers playing the ‘once-forbidden’ Parai — one of the oldest percussion instruments.
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