Solkattu is a traditional way of learning and practicing rhythms through vocalizations of nonsense syllables stemming from South Indian Carnatic music. In performance, Solkattu is traditionally called Konnakol. Most percussionists, vocalists, instrumentalists, and dancers all learn these syllables first and then add the sounds of the drum, the pitches, or the dance movements to the vocalizations later on.
The fact that this rhythmic system of learning doesn’t use numbers helps a lot of people feel the rhythms in a different way. David likes sharing and teaching this way of embodying rhythms because it’s a great way to really internalize the rhythms from the inside, and because it’s fun and accessible to everyone.
For your rhythmic vocalization and embodiment practice and pleasure, here is a downloadable solkattu file with a grid look at Chatusra (family of four) and Tisra (family of three) in 1st,2nd, and 3rd speeds with the talas (hand claps and fingers movements) and the stepping cycles:
Below is a video of David and Arlyn performing their “Solkattu Conversation” on tour in 2012. It starts in Adi Tala (the family of 8 pulses per phrase) and then goes into Mishra Tala (the family of 7 pulses per phrase).