| Singers Jitendriya Haripal (top) and Padmini Dora (above) perform at the Rangabati festival at Rabindra Mandap in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, May 30: The Rabindra Mandap auditorium was packed with more than a thousand viewers, most of them fans of singer Jitendriya Haripal, at the Rangabati festival on Tuesday evening.
The first-of-its-kind cultural extravaganza showcasing performances of western Odisha’s folk music and dance proved to be a big hit on its second evening, all because of the 65-year-old singer of Rangabati rangabati kankalata fame.
Young and old Sambalpuri music enthusiasts were seen not only occupying the seats but also standing wherever there was an inch of space available in the auditorium only to witness their much-loved singer perform Rangabati song live. The viewers were certainly not left disappointed.
When Haripal took over the stage, applause filled the auditorium amid cheering. The icon of Sambalpuri music started off with a bhajan — Hai krushna hai krushna boli jau mor jiban — that was appreciated by the listeners.
Soon he rendered folk hits one after another for which he is known. His son Prabhat Haripal accompanied him on the percussion that was played in vibrant and pulsating style of western Odisha.
Soon, the requests for Rangabati kept coming from the audience. Famous actor and president of Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Sarat Pujari, who also hails from Sambalpur was present in the audience.
The humble Haripal told the viewers that his co-singer Krishna Patel was not present and so he would not be able to perform their requested song. Yet, after repeated requests, he rendered a few lines and that was more than enough for the crowd to join in singing and dancing to the foot-tapping music.
“There’s no song like Rangabati and we are delighted that Haripal sir kept our request and sang a couple of lines. It was thrilling to hear it live from him. Especially because he sang it so fresh even at the age of 65,” said Binayak, a college student who was at the auditorium with a dozen of friends.
Among other attractions on the second evening of the festival was Padmini Dora’s variety of emotive folk songs that won the hearts of the connoisseurs. The performer started with a Lila composition — Aarey babu shyama ghana — that depicted the love of mother Yashoda for Krishna.
Then came a poignant Danda piece — Kanhu daki desi nisa rati — based on the romance between Radha and Krishna followed by a stunning medley of six varieties of Sambalpuri folk songs. But the most touching was her song that compared the fate of flowers and women — Jhara ra malli.
“She has an amazing intensity of emotions in her voice. Her performance left me spellbound. A very talented singer indeed,” said eminent Odissi musician Ramahari Das who was present among the audience.
Among other performers were the Ranga Farua team from Sambalpur, Sarala Sangeeta Anusthan from Nuapada and Mahabir Sanskrutika Anusthan from Bhavanipatna. The festival has been organised by Odisha tourism and Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi.