Welcome to the Nilgiri Mountains!

Grade Level
1-3; 4-6

Selection: To To Pata
Recorded: Ooty and Vicinity, The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India/1989
Performers: Mixed chorus of children

Activity I: Singing the Song

1. Play the recording, asking students to listen in order to respond to these questions (Attentive Listening):

  • Who is singing? (A mixed choir of children)
  • What instruments are playing? (There are no instruments)
  • What is the pattern of the melody? (brief pattern up, high-low)

2. Play the recording again, and tap the beat along (Engaged Listening)

3. Play the recording again, and try to hum along the high-low pattern (Engaged Listening)

4. Sing the song softly with the recording, attempting to match the slow the singing style (Engaged Listening)

5. Sing melody one time through without the recording (Enactive Listening)

6. Experiment with a body percussion pattern to go with the song (Creating World Music

Activity II: Delving into the Culture

1. Although there isn’t much information available about this song, we know this is a song sung by children. Besides the body percussion accompaniment, what kinds of games can we create using this recording?

2. Consider the meaning and use of this song. The context might be a playground, or “out and
about”, as children create in all sorts of settings.

3. Describe the place: Toda people are a Dravidian ethnic group who live in the Nilgiri Mountains of Tamil Nadu. Before the 18th century and British colonization, the Toda coexisted locally with other ethnic communities, including the Kota, Badaga and Kurumba, in a loose caste-like society, in which the Toda were the top ranking.

4. Discover other recordings of children from other ethnic groups in South India.

Five Significant Traits of Cantometrics
1. Repetition - Two thirds/extreme repetition (repeated words or vocables)
2. Tonal Blend of the Vocal Group - Medium Blend
3. Vocal Width - Very narrow or narrow
4. Melisma - Some melisma
5. Social Organization of the Vocal Group - Social unison

Lesson plan by Juliana Cantarelli Vita