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ParthSarthi and Group

Folk Defining Life with Traditions

 

In the mesmerizing land of Ramnagar, Parthasarthi is a folk artist who practices Veeragase with his team of wonderful traditional artists. He is a part of Veeragase team that performs Tamtevaadiya and Veeragase. Parthasarathy is a very dedicated and sincere person who follows his passion for learning and teaching traditional art form. When asked about the art form, Parthasarthi stressed that the purpose of Veeragase is about adding the violent avatar of Lord Shiva also known as Veerabhadra. Parthasarthi along with his team has performed in various places like Delhi, Haryana, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and various other states of the country. Approximately, the team has been conducting programmes for 15 years. The team experiences joy and has the prime objective of saving this art.

 

After he settled down with his team, in beautiful dresses and masks we knew that it is going a worth watching the performance. In the shimmer clothes and elaborate make, they started to perform. The performance clearly showed their dedication and throughout the beats of the songs made us tap our feet too. The performance was fierce sit should be and hence was worth watching. Parthasarthi had learnt this art from his teacher Byrappa and also Mahesh. In order to learn this art, Nagegowda has built the entire Janapada Loka. It also had played a very important role. There are various people like Byrappa, Mahesh, Shivanna, Seenappa and others from whom he has learnt and exhibited this art. For Parthasarthi, this is the only profession and nothing else. He has taught in various schools and colleges like Bidathinahalli, Basaveshwara, Shyamala school, Karevinahalli, Channapatna Government First Grade College, Bengaluru GKVK college and many other colleges.  According to him not only video but also audio recordings of the performance have been done. However, he is not sure where they are as of now. He is keen on teaching the art form to his children so that it can be passed on to the next generation. We feel that this art form practised by this team of dedicated and hardworking individuals should be highlighted and made to reach out to the vast audience all over the world. This group and the art form required an applause from all over the world.

Mahesh and Group

Lives Rolling on Drums

 

According to Mahesh, as far as the origin of Dollu Kunitha is concerned, it is said that there was a demon named Dolla-asura. He prayed rigorously to Lord Shiva. In return, he requested Lord Shiva to grant him a wish. Dolla-asura swallowed Lord Shiva. After being swallowed by Dolla-asura, Lord Shiva grew in massive proportion inside the demon’s stomach. Being unable to bear the pain, Dolla-asura pleaded Lord Shiva to come out. Lord Shiva came out by tearing open the demon’s stomach, killing him in the process. Lord Shiva used the demon’s stomach and the skin to make the drum. The demon’s arms were used as sticks to beat the drum. The demon’s intestine was used to make the band wear the drums around the neck. Lord Shiva expressed his anger through this violent form of dance. This basically is a well-known form of art and dance in Karnataka. Districts like Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Shimoga and Sagar have been credited as the cradle of this form of art. This form of dance flourished in these places. And, Mahesh and his team have carried this forward in the last 20 years. They have been practising it has their livelihood as well.

 

Mahesh had learnt this art from a renowned Janapada Loka trust at Ramanagara. After learning this art, he has also passed on the knowledge of this art to at least 500 people across various schools and colleges. Mahesh and his team have been professionally practising this art. It is a source of their livelihood. The revenue earned from it is used to lead their life. Mahesh has been learning this art from the age of 20. He is keen on teaching this art to his children. However, as they are too young their education that is reading and writing seems to be the focus as of now. He would definitely give a thought about teaching them this art at a later stage. As not many people are showing interest in this form of art, Dollu Kunitha faces a serious threat of being extinguished. Mahesh feels that if such a scenario presents itself, he would fall back on agriculture for revenue. Some of his team members have appointed jobs. And, some work as drivers and farmers. However, Mahesh strongly feels that Dollu Kunitha is their team’s main profession and he would like to grow as a full-fledged folk dancer. According to him, the elders in the family mostly depend on pension fund given by the government.

According to Mahesh, his team members are versatile and can perform various jobs. While some are drivers, farmers there are others who have taken up government jobs. However, for a few of them, Dollu Kunitha is the sole profession. Apart from this, he believes in moving on with life as per the God’s will.

 

This art is their life. And hence, they are pursuing it.

Prashant and Group

A Secret Folk Tradition

 

The Kangilo group is led by Prashant and Shekar Bykadi who live in Kalyanpur village, Udupi district. The folk form they perform is a religious devotion in the form of dance. They initially started off as a drama artist and later on got involved with folk art and dance as well.  They support all the artists for giving performance throughout India. Shekar with being an artist is also a public speaker and imparts training on human relations, communication skills and leadership building. His family did not belong to this field. But his first encounter with drama started when he was in 8th standard when he performed Yakshagana. He then moved on to drama acting training. He was fortunate enough to be trained by top most directors like Prasanna and Champa. Currently, he is continuing by devoting equal time to drama and dance. With Shekar and Prashant, the group wishes to be active in this field and also like to create peace with domestic activities. Their dream is to support folk dance and drama but does not prefer to work in films or any other activities that do not promote our culture. They are inclined towards folk dance and modern theatre drama.

 

Shekar is also imparts training to students in many colleges and schools. And, so far many students have been guided by him. Being involved in social work has given him recognition and popularity in his locality. He also conducts humorous programs for birthdays and weddings which has resulted in fame. In the field of drama, he has contacts with people like professors and lecturers. Even to this day, he continues to give performances. The group has performed in various cities and won many awards. In the elocution competition, he got first at the state level in Karnataka.  The form of music they perform is only classical which includes Janapada songs. In the drama, there are domestic songs. In Kannada, it is known as Ranga Geethe. In the group, Shekar is the one who also has written such songs and also pens articles. Upon reaching their house in Udupi we were stunned with the dedication they had put in arranging the costumes made out of the fresh palm leaves and the beautiful intrinsic makeup put upon them. With the preparations done they went ahead to the performance which was done at the bank of the backwaters few kilometres away from their house. The performance was highly applauded by the locals who saw it then. Prashant and Shekar are determined to take this rare art form to a wider platform and in this Anahad Foundation is definitely going to help them.

Jaswant and Group

Jewels of Folk Music

 

Punjab’s folk heritage has a huge collection of traditional jewels. The songs are about everything, everyone, and every phase of one’s life. The songs from birth to death, to different stages of life, everything can be found in the treasure of Punjabi folk songs. The music in this region has all the treasure of traditions. The Punjabi folk music’s rhythm is very simple and not complex. Punjab lacks musicianship and hence the genre reuse the old tracks which were created years ago. Punjab folk music has a huge range of songs and it is because of the youngsters like Jaswant and his group that these traditional heritage has been restored and cherished till today.

 

Sachche akhana na kamlu bahut samjhaya

 

Jhalle dil utha zor bada paaya

 

Bass bulla rahi uthhe mereiyan

 

Main bol ken aa dassa sadgi

 

Jaswant and his group love to make people dance on their tunes of songs that they play with. They are very professional and make people dance and enjoy their songs. The group is very mature and the member thinks in such a way that helps them in curating the songs whenever they go for performances. The group leader Jaswant directs them and makes sure that they loved by people. They sing all kind of songs, whether it is for birth, marriage, romance, love, etc. All they remember to do while performing any song is to enjoy themselves.

Ali Akbar and Group

Sufi in the Heart of Punjab

 

In Punjab, apart from Sikhism, the history of Punjab has Sufism playing a very important role. The western part of Punjab is majorly influenced by Sufi Saints and Sufi Pirs. With time the trend of Sufi singing has certainly increased as people have started to like it but still, the condition of the artists remain the same. The shrines in this region of Punjab is called as ‘low’ caste Dalits. Since then the Dalit community takes care of the Sufi shrines. Ali is a Punjabi Sufi singer and has a versatile group of people who are very talented. Ali himself is a music teacher and Head of Department in Patiala University, Punjab.

 

Rabba mere haal da mehram tu”

(You are the only one who understands my feelings)

 

“Jo Kuchh baab mere dukh darde, hai kee khabar kise nun”

(No one knows how much pain my sorrows give)

 

So yo jane kadar mohammad tanman lagdi jaenoon”

(Only the one who experiences it, understands the pain)

 

“Mula Jithay baajh preet lagaee”

(Lord, where u have fixed my living)

 

“Hoga jis hoorna”

(Things that have to occur will happen)

 

“Hasan kheedan yaad na rha piya omer da rona”

(forgot how to laugh and play and sorrow)

 

“Ander toon hia bahir too hai”

(You are inside me you outside of me)

 

Ali wants to spend all his life singing the Sufi songs and making people hear them. He and his group want to surrender themselves to the one Almighty and wish to stay like that always. He loves to sing Qawaali of Abida, the song of Nusrat Fateh Ali, Ghulam Ali, etc. Sufism spreads the message of spiritual harmony in society and there can be no other better medium than music to carry forward this philosophy. Ali and his group love to sing songs inspired by the works of legendary Sufi poets like Bulle Shah, Mirza Ghalib, Rumi, Kabir and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Sufi has different forms like Qawwali, Kafi and Ghazal.

 

“Ochee jah dil noo lagaya”

(I fall in love with the ultimate lover, which is my LORD)

 

“Paree mosibat bharee”

(and this is immensely difficult)

 

“Yaaran baaj mohammad bakhsha kaun kare damkhari

“(God is kind, my friends are around me who share my grief and sympathise with me)

 

“Wichoo attish baharoo khaki”

(fire from within dust from outside)

 

“Jee aik aah dard jee maran hoda mulak weranee”

(The pain of desire has rendered me alone in the country)

 

“Khokhafa tay sabzay sarday nade rahay naa pane”

(all seasons, green, snow, river have no value to me)

 

“Kahe hussain faqir nimmana main nahin sub tu”

(Helpless Hussain can only say All this is your energy, not mine)

Sharan and Group

Folk from the Foothills

 

Sharan and his team are from Laputhana, Ranchi, who at present lives in Pavatoli, Ranchi. The group leader, Sri Sharan is not just an artist but also has many feathers in his cap. He was an accountant in AG office and is also a Lawyer. Upon asking his relation and connection with music he gives the credit to his family and his upbringing in during his childhood. They perform a folk tradition called Urao which is one of the most famous in the state of Jharkhand. The group has won various accomplishments like a Gold Medal in Hyderabad. They have also performed in Maharashtra, Kolkata, Delhi etc. and have won many applause. They were also been honoured by the state government for their contribution to the art and culture of Jharkhand. Lok Seva Samiti gave him Jharkhand Ratan Award, Vishv Seva Samiti, Delhi – National Award.

 

One after seeing the sincerity and dedication towards the intricates of the performance that hey gave us we could easily guess that for the music has always been there as a learning and motivation and passion. He recalls of going to Akhada to sing and dance, but all of this was considered very demeaning by the artists. It was Sharan’s father who told him that once gone is lost forever so leave everything and pursue music. About the folk Sharan tells that all the 12 months have different songs, the folk culture so rich. He also makes sure that if not written the song will be lost forever and thus he maintain books of these songs by publishing them. That is his way of documenting the songs. We feel that Anahad needs more people like him to do come up themselves and do their bit, as the future generation is not using this language so it has to be preserved somehow. With the conversation going on with we reached the location which was decided by the team and it was right in front of the hill where they reside, making the set and the video look incredible. The entire team is very hard working and full of life. They believe in the policy of doing good, be good.

 

Kishto Mahto and Group

Musical Language Reciting Tunes

 

People ignore the local music of particular region by saying that it has rusted, but hardly they realize that it is as much as a part of our valuable tradition. If only people would have thought so the music would have had evolved so much today.  Kurmali language is spoken in the Chota Nagpur region of Jharkhand. It is usually associated with the Kudumi Mahato community of Jharkhand. Kurmali is spoken in other regions of Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is claimed that it is the nearest language to Charyapada. It’s dialect how so ever is very much like Panchparganiya. Also Kurmali is the native language for the community of Kurmi, a caste. There are various alternative names for the language which is  Bedia (from the Bedia caste), Dharua, Khotta, Pan Sawasi, Tanti, Tair, and Chik Barack. All the folk traditions in this community are followed in this language only. The songs are written, composed and performed in the traditional language only, which is Kurmali.

 

The group has dance members who give a beautiful coordinated performance with the traditional songs sung by the group. Their every performance leaves everyone mesmerized whenever they perform. The group has wonderful versatile members for whom music is passion and they shall follow it to their grave. They all belong from a small village in the district of Silli near Ranchi, Jharkhand. Srishti Dhar Mahato is a very talented artist and a very learned individual. He is an expert in the Kurmali folk music because of his extensive vast knowledge about the Kurmali language. Mahato is a farmer also but with that too he carries his passion for music alive for the sake of his culture and his love for music. He has been learning music since he was just 5 years old then. Since a very tender age, he has been following and leaning music stealthily.

 

The group has been performing for a long time together now. They all have been learning and the following music from their childhood. They are extraordinary artists who put in efforts at every performance like it is their last. They have performed almost everywhere in their region but together as a group they had never represented their tradition and culture on the national or international platform. They all wish to travel the globe and spread the message that their beautiful heritage songs have to give.

Kairle Bhajan Group

Musical East Jharkhand

 

Chota Nagpuri is one of the oldest musical and dance form of Jharkhand since Jharkhand was also known as Chotanagpur. Nagpuri is mostly famous in Ranchi region. Nagpuri is also a language and has related music, folk songs and dance form. In this category also, the group would perform both music and dance. Sulekha and Arun are leaders for this group who sing in Chota Nagpuri language. She sings in Chota Nagpuri language which is one of the many dialects spoken in Jharkhand. Chota Nagpuri is mainly spoken in Ranchi and is said to be a sweet language that depicts love and kindness.

 

The songs too thus sound very sweet and melodious.  Her songs have been recorded once in a studio in Delhi which she did voluntarily for her Guru Prem Rawat ji. Audios and Videos of the song are played in the region, though no one knows that they were composed and sung by her. their team has been invited to perform in many cities in Jharkhand and also Delhi. They are regular TV and Radio artists though do not realize that the flavours of their unique local music can easily create waves internationally. The group is very fond of singing religious songs and love to listen to them too. Arun and Sulekha both write also their own songs and compose them later.

 

The group is very well coordinated as they have very well arrangement of the songs and their selection of people is also very well defined as per their role in the song. Like all the other dances of Jharkhand, the folk dance that goes with Chota Nagpuri is also very primitive in nature. It is very traditional in taste and is inherited by tribal people from centuries who treat them as heritage.  They have been passing on this tradition from one generation to another since ages. The dances are of various types in tempo they are slow dances and very fast dances also. The dance style is a mixture of slow and fast dance. It is largely presented in the Nagpuri movies also.

Maskaal Group

The Braveheart Musical Souls

 

Mundari people are a tribal group of India residing in Jharkhand. They speak the Mundari language, which belongs to the Munda. They are India’s one of the largest scheduled tribes and are called with different names at a different region where they are found which is not specific to Jharkhand. They are well known for preserving their culture. The group leader of Mundari group Panchanan Munda told us that they have a treasure of so many folk songs, dances and various musical instruments. The community makes no discrimination between males and females and thus both of them participate with excitement at the dance event held at social platforms and events. sexes participate in dances at social events and festivals. Upon learning we got to know that they follow elaborate rituals in order to celebrate the festivals and occasions like birth, death, weddings, etc.

 

Panchanan explained to us various form of celebrations like the birth of a boy is celebrated as an earner of the family, the engagement ceremony is called lota pani, the girl’s birth is celebrated as a family caretaker. They have their own set of social traditions and regulations which is followed in their entire society. They are known for following it in any circumstance what so ever. They never go back on their norms and celebrate and live a very happy life. Mundari songs are about the bravery also that their people show during the time of the revolt for the independence. With all this conversation about the rich folk, we reached our location which was a bank of a huge pond surrounded with green mountains. The groups were dressed in bright colour clothes with a typical set of accessories on them. The group consisted of both men and women who participated in dancing along with the singing. The steps were well choreographed and coordinated by Panchanan himself resultant a beautiful performance which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Sanskriti Jagran Group

Seasonal Bliss with Music

 

Far away there is a land where lives a group of people who travel from one place to another singing songs and dancing. The group practices the traditional Jhumar folk which is widely sung in the harvest season and people dance on this. The harvest season is usually accompanied with the monsoon season i.e. from August to September. It majorly describes the happy and joyous lives of the tribal folk of that region. Typically the people who dance are male dancers. The style and get up of the entire set up is always so beautiful that one feels it is a treat for the eyes. The signature step of the dance is the round movements of the of the dancers made with a musical instrument – drum being the centre of it. And besides this, the singers sing the songs while the dance is on.

 

The group leader Kartik Koiri told us that the Jhumar can be performed any time of the year, especially during the weddings, festivals or some other important functions and celebrations. It is a very popular folk form of the state of Jharkhand. The music instruments used during this time are Mandar, Dhol, Flute, Nagara, Dhak, Shehnai and Khatal. There are various forms of the Jhumar such as Khortha Jhumair, Nagpuri Jhumair and Kurmali Jhumair. Nagpuri Jhumair also has Mardana Jhumair and Janani Jhumair. At times females also take part in this dance. When females take part in this dance, Jhumar takes the new name of Janani Jhumar. Kartik is very focused on the songs and makes sure that he updates the songs with the going season and occasion, therefore he prefers to write the songs also on his own. Kartik himself is a fabulous flute player. He was very happy to meet the team of Anahad and to know their vision behind the work, as his vision to aligns with him and he feels and understands the necessity to preserve and conserve this and many other music forms.  After saying this he stated of with this songs:

 

Aago maata bina paani tumhi maa jagat janni

Oh Goddess mother earth you are the live giver of this land

Gyaan hino achir tomar charne

The boy with no knowledge in on your feet