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Country Blues!


Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Coorg -


When you meander along the wooded backstreets of Coorg, there’s one genre of music that’ll serenade you every season: The Blues! The Coorg version is, however, very different from its American cousin in that its provenance is not the stygian depths of melancholia, but springs from a sunny groundswell of cheerful optimism. Furthermore, the label owes less to the lyrics and more to the appearance of the musicians: small, feathered and always accoutred in brilliant blue. The Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers are a sell out wherever they perform, and their popularity is evident from the fact that they play all year. Of course their appeal isn’t universal in their own backyard, and there’s a segment of the population that does an about turn whenever they hear the Blues Brothers’ signature tune. This natural antipathy of Coorg’s insects has nothing to do with a more eclectic taste in music, but owes purely to self-preservation. Winged insects are the staple food of our avian minstrels, who’re past masters at capturing their prey on the wing. Not surprisingly, they are valued more for this pest-control service than for their music, by the farmers and planters of Coorg. Unlike rock stars and their shenanigans with groupies, these songsters are almost boringly monastic in their personal lives. They stay loyal to their partners throughout their adult lives, and always travel together, often calling out to ensure the other half hasn’t strayed (perhaps paying homage to Coorg’s reputation in providing such temptations). With such soulful songs for company, however, one would need to be tone deaf to even wish to stray. If you’re ever in the vicinity, and feeling a little low after a tiff with your mate, just step out of your resort…we guarantee that when these bards of a feather sing together, it will drive your blues away!


Photograph: Sanket Reddy Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

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