Posts filed under ‘Folk music and musical instruments’

Ganda Baja – a musical tradition of western Odisha

 Following article is from EPW:

Ganda Baja is a prominent folk musical tradition of western Odisha. The players of this art form belong to the Ganda community (a Dalit community, largely from parts of western Odisha that border Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh). Generally, the Ganda are landless people mainly dependent on Ganda Baja and weaving for their livelihood. Since their traditional occupation of weaving has been failing with mill-made clothes flooding the market, they have been reduced to landless agricultural labourers. Some among them have also migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood.

“Baja” is a collective of musical instruments, including membranophones (the dhol, nisan, and tasa or timkidi), an aerophone (muhuri), and an idiophone (jhumka). This Baja is traditionally played during marriages, childbirth ceremonies, idol immersion processions, some administrative occasions, funeral processions, etc. Each occasion’s music has a distinct beat and tenor. For example, the “Jhi Bahar Par” (music for daughter’s departure to her in-laws’ place) is played when a bride is escorted out of the village by friends and relatives as she leaves for her marital home. The “Dargad Par” is played when a wife wails and mourns her husband’s death. Songs are specifically learnt for the occasion. The composition of “Dargad Par” evokes fear and awe in the listener.

The Ganda Baja is a way of living, a cultural manifestation of life in western Odisha. These days, the traditional genre has undergone tremendous change. A Ganda Baja troop consists of a minimum of five members in different capacities. They are Muhuria (the person who operates the muhuri), Dhulia (the person who operates the dhol), Taslia (the person who operates the tasa), Nisnia (the person who operates the nisan), and Jhumkia (the person who operates the jhumka). Five members is the minimum strength of the troop, but six members is considered a sound quorum for the group, with one dhol, one muhuri, one jhumka, one tasa and two nisan. The group has the flexibility of extending it to eight members, if there is a demand for dancers (a man in the outfit of a woman) from their clients. It is believed that a troop is stronger with a larger number of members in varying capacities. The members have learnt this art form from their forefathers, having travelled together and performed with them since childhood. Due to the stigma associated with the community and the practice of untouchability, they learn this art form from their family members as a livelihood skill.

The members of the community mainly earn during the marriage season. Earlier, they used to perform for three to five days. Now, it has reduced to a maximum of two days. Earlier, the agreements between the patron and the Ganda Baja troop were through the jajmani system in these areas and were usually oral contracts. The wage rates offered to them were very low and they had to accept whatever amount was offered. Once they entered into an agreement, sometimes their patrons had exclusive and absolute rights over their services for a particular period of time (usually three or five days). For this stipulated time they were like bonded labourers. In some instances, the party engaging them would pressurise the troop to beat drums all night so they could drink and dance. Sometimes they would even have to walk for hours and cover long distances carrying heavy instruments to reach their destination. And, at times, they would have to wait for long hours for food, once they reached there.

Things, however, are changing. Currently, a contract is completely based on mutual agreement. Slowly, the community is demanding market-negotiated wage rates. Income encompasses payments in both cash and kind. The minimum rate is ₹ 5,000 per performance, and the maximum is ₹ 15,000, shared by the members of the troop. They have around 30 performances for different occasions over seven to eight months in a year.

Ganda Baja is still a major source of livelihood for this community in a large part of western Odisha. Modern music has seriously affected the livelihood of the Baja troops, resulting in the gradual disappearance of this age-old traditional art form. In 2014, folk artists from western Odisha had staged a protest in front of the legislative assembly demanding the status of Adikala (primitive art) for Ganda Baja. On that occasion, they tried to foreground two issues: their strong attachment to their culture, and their earnings from their occupation. They vociferously argued that their culture was their occupation too, which is why there is an urgent need for the revival and promotion of Ganda Baja.

Sujit Kumar Mishra (sujitkumar72@gmail.com) teaches economics at the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad.

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October 21, 2018 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

‘Rangabati’ music composer Prabhudatta Pradhan passes away

Following is a report from the TOI:

Music composer of popular Sambalpuri song Rangabati, Prabhudatta Pradhan, today passed away at his residence in Odisha following prolonged illness, family sources said.
Active in the field of music for 45 years, Pradhan had popularised Sambalpuri music and had bagged 14 prestigious awards for his contribution in the field of Samabalpuri music.

He had expertise in percussion instruments like ‘Dhol’ and ‘Mandal’.

The Rangabati song which earned him fame in 1975, was written by Mitrabhanu Gountia and sung by Jitendra Haripal and Krishna Patel.

He is survived by wife and two sons Ashish and Aseem.

Born in 1943, Prabhudatta started learning music under his father at the age of three. He was influenced by his father late Pravas Chandra Pradhan to sing bhajans or Hindu religious songs at home even though they were Christians. Pradhan learnt tabla from Pandit Jadunath Supkar at Benaras in Uttar Pradesh. He had joined the All India Radio (AIR), Sambalpur station as an instrumentalist in 1969.

May 31, 2018 at 4:07 am Leave a comment

Remembering legendary music director late Saroj Nanda

Following report is from the Sambad:
Nanda

October 1, 2013 at 9:39 am 2 comments

Trailer of Sabyasachi Mohapatra’s new Kosli language movie “Sala Budha”

December 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm 2 comments

Ghanta Badya of Ghess, Bargarh

June 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm 2 comments

Dance and music of western Odisha

Following is a report from the Hindu:

Odisha Tourism recently organised “Rangabati”, a festival of dance and music of western Odisha. The name was drawn from the folk song sung by Jitendriya Haripal and Krishna Patel in the late 70s. That it still continues to catch the imagination of the young and the old alike was on full display at Rabindra Mandap in Bhubaneshwar.

Each of the three days of the festival invited five troupes to perform music and dance typical to Western Odisha. Dukhisyam Triparty sang solo to open the festival. The bhajan ‘Bulibuli Singh duare kandibo banamali suno bhai’, entreating Lord Jagannath to show mercy, followed by ‘Harinam Pan Karo pujuta dhako dhako harinam ke’ and ‘Bhavasindhu se khaditi logoi de mobhela’ was effective in arousing bhakti. Dilip Kumar Bag who took Sambalpuri music to great heights, is possessed with a wonderful singing voice with an incredible range. The song “Udogo Ma Dhawal mukhi, dhumal Barani ”is a song on Durga and it was sung with zest. The duet song ‘Kalabati Morkala kajuri’ sung by the couple Dilip Kumar Bag and Padmini Bag was romantic in nature.

The presentation of Maa Samaleswari Daliakhusa Kala Parishad was colourful and the performers consisting of two women dancers, accompanied by seven instrumentalists, in an intricate rhythm pattern was vigorous and enchanting. The folk instruments played were dhol, madal, nishan, tasa, pakhawaj, bansi, bir-kahali, gini, ektara, muhuri, ghulgula, ghunguru, and jhanj, punctuated by mnemonic syllables. Karam Sani nritya was performed by boys and girls of Pancham Bolangir. Karma is the most colourful dance of the district. It is a tribal dance in honour of “Karam Sani”, the deity who grants children, as they believe. In the beginning the dancers entered the dancing arena in two rows. The drummers and the singers accompanied the dancers with rhythmic steps. Humo is a dance showing young girls at play. The group sang and danced to verses that have come down from ancient times. They danced gleefully in slow rhythm and the audience got a brief glimpse of their happy moments, before they would be married off.

Mahuri Kala Parishad, Rourkela concluded the day’s programme with ‘Panchadeva Bandana’. The second day’s evening started with the solo singer of Padmini Dora, who commenced with ‘Are babu Shyam Ghana tugale’ accompanied by dhol, tasa, tabla and tar shehnai. The second presentation was Sambalpuri Geetmala of folk music. Her song was a combination of about six folk songs. Radha hears Krishna playing the mohan bina and her heart is in turmoil. The song became even more beautiful, with her dancing steps she used while singing. The third number was amazingly contemporary, where Sucharita Misra danced as Padmini sang ‘Gharoro mouli’ – do not trample the jasmine under your feet. Anyone who wants to pluck the flower does it. It was a metaphorical statement appealing to the good senses of the people to respect the rights of women.

Jitetdriya Haripal is a name to reckon with in the music of Sambalpur. His song ‘Bar deuli pathar khasri’ is the cry of a bhakta of lord Jagannath and his strange way of expecting salvation. The other two songs ‘moulodhare barasilopani’ and ‘Pokhano upane dharana pani’ were romantic in nature. Ranga Ferua Sambalpur was the third artist of the evening. He sang a duet song with his wife Parvati where she pleads with him to give up drinking. The song provided comic relief to the audience.

Mahabir Snskrutika Anusthan, Bhawanipatna showcased Baja Sal and Singh played during marriage ceremony. It was a rich fare of young men and women coming in a procession and rendering their vigorous and joyful dance.

‘Dholo pare parebajare bajania’ entreats the dholakia to play the drum so that dance can be rendered. This song, and the song where a girl, who has a thorn stuck to her feet entreating her companions to remove it, gave the audience a glimpse of the day to day simple happenings of village folks. They rounded off their short programme with a ‘Dalkhaire’.

The celebrated singer Krishna Patel was the audience’s choice. She, therefore, sang for a long time, singing three solo songs-‘Dholi dholi asche kunjo banu kalia kanu’ – describing the coming of Lord Jagannath from the garden of flowers, ‘Mon jamunar kule’, a romantic song in jhumur tune and a ceremonial folk song ‘Raserkeli chata orapadhai’. She sang in a high pitched clear voice much to the liking of the audience.

Pankaja Kumar Jala was all bhakti with his song ‘Tomoro pade saranna gali’ asking round eyed Jagannath’s protection. Then he prayed to Ma Samala through the medium of dance. His third song was a ‘Dhap’, an ancient custom of Kanda – adivasi – Samaj. His last song – a Bauni – was a sad song lamenting the loss of his beloved. Radharani Sanskrutika Sansad, Bolangir presented a tasteful blend of dhol, nishan, mahuri, tasha, tamka and jhanj. Their songs cover every aspect of human life – divine life, social life, economic life and cultural life.

Ukia Sambalpur, under the able leadership of Ranjan Kumar Sahu came with his basket of all the traditional folk dances in a combined form. The folk dances like the Karama dance performed on the festive occasion of Bhardrav Ekadashi (August/September) is a ritual followed. Besides Karama, they danced Humanan, Parva, Dalkhai, Dhap, Nua Khai, Mailajada as well as other forms. Parva or Shiva tandava is a part of danda nritya. It is a tribal dance performed during Chaitra.

Sambalpur Kala Parishad did a kind of sawal-jawab with the drummers with a variety of steps rendered in high speed. Through dance they displayed the rituals of fasting during the seventh day of Dussehra and breaking of the fast on the eighth day, before boys and girls socialise and break into joyful dance.

June 22, 2012 at 2:31 am Leave a comment

Pakhana upare jharana: a unique Kosli song

April 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm 1 comment

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