The Odissi Project

Odissi music is a system of Indian classical music with a history spanning more than a thousand years. It has its own repertoire of indigenous ragas, a vast body of literature in the Odia language and a distinct style of rendition. This project is an attempt to make more people aware of this rich tradition by providing carefully curated content, and bring some much-needed attention to the hundreds of dedicated musicians in the villages of Odisha who have kept alive this ancient art.

From my own research of the subject as a vocalist, this is my attempt to provide a single portal that collates never-before available lyrics, rare literary genres, lost tunes, gramophone recordings, interviews and other archival data to provide a holistic view of this distinct school of music.


This is a part of project Pothi

Pothi is a project to create comprehensive digital documentation of critically endangered cultural elements


1

Balaram Gouda
Naikanipalli, Khallikote, Ganjam

Sri Balaram Gouda is trained in the ancient tradition of Sakhi Nata in Ganjam. His repertoire spans odissichhandachampu and a lot more, from the works of several authors.

I once saw a performance by his troupe and that was when I heard his voice for the first time. It did not take long to realise that the tunes and variations he employed were steeped in tradition. Since then I had been waiting to meet the gentleman; fortunately, things went well and we were able to sit with him for a wonderful session at Naikanipalli, Ganjam, Odisha. 

Songs recorded

  1. Malli Mala Syamaku Debi – Upendra Bhanja, Ghumusara (1670-1740)
  2. Chhaila Bara Chhamure Padili – Gopalakrusna Pattanayaka, Paralakhemundi (1784-1862)

Lead vocalist / Balaram Gouda
Mardala, Khola / Bhimasen Mahankud & Praphulla Swain
Gini & others / Gaurahari Khuntia, Jagannath Dora


2

Chandramani Lenka
Puri

Sri Chandramani Lenka is a veteran Odissi musician. His voice has a distinct touch of Puri and his training was mostly under Singhari Shyamasundar Kar and Balakrushna Dash.

The recordings aren’t of very high quality; this is because it was one of my first attempts at documentation, without any specialised equipment.

Songs recorded

  1. Ninda Na Labha Sakhi ReKabisurjya Baladeba Ratha, Athagada (1789-1845) – Raga Kalyana
  2. Sajare Sahi Sajare – Rajarajeswara Deba – Raga Sankarabharana
  3. Jamunaku Aau Jaana – traditional – Raga Sankarabharana
  4. Manini Radhe – Benudhara – Raga Kalyana
  5. Chahan Nayana Chape Madanamohana – Singhari Shyamsundar Kar – Raga Kalyana, Tala Rupaka – Chandana Jatra song
  6. Jhulibe Ta Aja Kunje Barajaraja – traditional – Raga Kamodi, Tala Adatali – Jhulana Jatra song
  7. Ki Bhangi Kala Lo Mita – Sadananda Kabisurjya Brahma – Raga Brundabati