Tuesday 23 April 2019

Odishi Raga Utsav - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Held at Delhi’s Triveni auditorium, with the finest of floral decorations, arrangements and a plethora of courtesies extended to each of the participants by the organizers of the event - Odishi Academy of Gopal Panda - the title of the Utsav almost forced the question out of me, “So what’s changed with all your efforts?” Ever since I can remember, Odishi music has been fighting for a place in the firmament of classical styles. The great Jayadeva from Odisha in his 12th century kavya Gita Govinda mentions ragas like Gundakeri, Varadi, Desavaradi, Mangalagujjari and the 15th century Oriya Mahabharata written by Sarala Das of Odisha mentions modes like Bhairavi, Malasri, Garri, Bhairava, Vasanta, and even talas like Khemta are mentioned. “All these and ragas like Sree and Prathamamanjari are part of our Odishi music system,” claims Pandit Gopal Chandra Panda who has been at the forefront of the movement for Odishi music to recapture its old glory and bring back into circulation its old ragas. 

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