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Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Your World. Your Stories. Everyday.


Music students perform Tamil song in Collage

Metea Valley’s music students performed the Tamil song ‘Balleilakka’ on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 during the Collage concert.

A Tamil, a Southern Indian language, the song was performed in Collage. The piece ‘Balleilakka’ is a song from the film ‘Sivaji the Boss’, starring Rajinikanth. Film plays an integral role in Tamil culture, and Rajini’s films are symbolic of the industry as a whole. It was no surprise that the Tamil audience was completely taken aback when they heard Balleilakka start playing in the concert.
Vasu Embar, a Tamil audience member, expresses his surprise and joy when he hears the first few notes of the piece.

“I had to really think twice. ‘Is it something that they’re really playing?’“ Embar continues, “It took a while for [it] to sink in that they were singing [a Tamil song],”

Embar applauded the performance and was overjoyed with the precise and correct pronunciation of the language. 

“The kids were singing all the words, all the lyrics, specifically calling out everything very crisply, very fluently. It was very good. Never anticipated it, so it was a great experience to listen to it.”

Like most performed arts, the audience only sees the polished and final piece. However, behind the scenes, students and teachers prepared tirelessly to represent Tamil culture accurately. 

Students had to refer to multiple recordings of people speaking the language as well as singing the song to mimic each word and note. The choir also had to work around problems with timing and teacher availability. 

The choir teacher, Paulette Boddy, explains how she was not present consistently when students were practicing, and her colleague Andrew Toniolo was off due to paternity leave, leaving students in a difficult position.  

“And so between both of us, we were sort of forced to allow the students to take ownership of this song more than usual. And they not only took ownership, but they took it to the next level,” Boddy said. 

Ultimately, the choir students overcame all difficulties and had a great time performing the song. 

“It was a great time just to dress up in Indian clothes and sing in a different language, different style, and just having a fun time.” senior Kevin Paul said.

The choice to perform an Indian song was fueled by the desire to reach the huge population of Indians in the school and to express the diversity of our school through art. Boddy refers to the Balleilakka performance as a “small version of the big idea of collage,” and explains how the performance was meant to embody the harmony of the culture. This representation was achieved by dressing students in traditional Indian wear. Boddy appreciates her students’ interest and commitment to carry out the vision. 

“It just seemed like this year was the right year to do [the performance] with these types of voices and students who were really eager to be able to learn new languages,” Boddy said. 

Overall, the audience was engaged and greatly pleased with the performance. Arockia Selvam, another Tamil audience member, hopes he gets to experience something similar in the future.

“I encourage [the school] to do this consistently so that our ethnic community will be exposed to the outside world,” Selvam said.

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About the Contributor
Dhiya Ashlyn D.S.
Dhiya is a sophomore and a reporter for The Stampede. She enjoys creative writing, music, art, and spending time with friends. She is also a classical dancer and spends an unnecessary amount of time daydreaming about and watching Tamil cinema.

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