(Last Updated on : 15/11/2010)
Community songs of Orissa
are those musical compositions which are sung by particular communities of the state. These are mostly different sections of the working class people of rural areas such as cultivators, snake charmers etc. Some of these community songs are described below.
Yogi Geeta /Chakulia Panda Geeta
Nath Yogis and Chakulia Pandas are mendicant castes of Orissa. They go from door to door in certain months begging alms. Nath Yogis are followers of Guru Gorakhnath. The male members of this community move out to different villages begging from door to door. They sing the ballad of Raja Govinda Chandra playing 'Kendara'. Kendara is a folk string instrument like violin. Likewise Chakulia Pandas also go from door to door singing a kind of song. They don't use any musical instrument
Chasa means a ploughman or cultivator. The men of this community sing about the different agricultural activities such as ploughing, reaping, driving bullock-carts etc. They do not use any accompaniment. They sometimes make rhyming sounds while singing. They mostly sing to break the monotony of work.
Sapuakela means a snake charmer. These snake charmers move from village to village and earn their livelihood with their snake play. While charming the snake they sing different varieties of songs known as Padma Tola, Phula Tola, Nirguna Geeta and Chaupadi. The Padma tola songs narrate the encounter of Lord Krishna
with the serpent Kaliya
. In Phula tola they pay their obeisance to Lord Vishnu and other deities. The first couplet of each song is a musical narration and the following line conforms to melodies. In the beginning of each couplet, they invoke musically 'Oh Mahapravu' and they end by saying 'Govinda Hari'. The Nirguna songs are about the philosophy of life. The songs composed in the form of questions and answers are always sung in two parts, the part on the answer having more melodic variations. The Chaupadis are basically love songs. Though these songs have no relation with snake charming, they are sung only for popular entertainment. These folk songs are sung in accompaniment to the rhythm of Shiva Dambaru and the Sarpa Nagara. Dambaru looks like a little Pakhavaj
with tiny bells fitted on it. Sarpa Nagara or Mahuri is a kind of Mahuri with which the Sapua or snake charmer is believed to attract snakes and make them play.
Thus the foregoing discussion throws light on some of the community songs prevalent in the state of Orissa.