Students of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya perform at Bhanja Kala Mandap in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, May 5: Vocalists and musicians from across the state have come together to celebrate age-old classical Odissi music traditions at the Odissi Sangeet Mahotsav that began today at Bhanja Kala Mandap here.
Hosted by the Sangeet Sudhakar Balakrushna Dash Foundation, the event will witness solo, duet and group performances by over 100 veteran and budding artistes. The festival, in its 16th edition this year, aims to rejuvenate the charm of Odissi music.
Students of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya kicked off the inaugural evening with symphonic and invocatory pieces on Goddess Saraswati followed by A. Maheswar Rao's renditions selected from verses of Jaydev's Gita Govinda.
Vocalists Gita Manjari Behera, Bijay Kumar Jena, Harapriya Swain and Sangeeta Panda delivered classical masterpieces one after another.
The audience also had a fulfilling experience. "We do not get to hear Odissi music often. So, the festival was an opportunity to delve into some rare ragas. I also got to meet veteran singers and take expert tips," said Nandini Nayak, 27, a singer herself.
An ensemble of various ragas and folk music will be performed at the festival, touted as Odissi musicians' annual union. From tomorrow, the festival will be conducted between 10am and 10pm.
The singers will also pay tributes to celebrated Odissi figures such as Upendra Bhanja, Prafulla Kar and Raghunath Panigraphi through songs based on intricate ragas such as Gowda, Baradi, Panchama, Dhanashri, Karnata and Bhairavi.
Singers will also perform Odia bhajans while folk music such as Dalkhai geet, Kendra geet, Jaiphula geet and Ghumura geet are expected to be highlights of the festival.
Artistes from several rural areas will perform while prominent names from Odisha's music circle will showcase classical styles of chanda and champu. Senior musicians will accompany the singers on the traditional instrument mardala, a major accompaniment to Odissi music.
"The state has produced several singers, who have been instrumental in promoting the state's classical music traditions. Through the festival, we aim to remember those stalwarts and create a platform for veteran and upcoming artistes to meet and discuss various trends in Odissi music," said Ramahari Das, veteran musician and festival director.
The festival, which ends on Sunday, will be documented and archived by various government cultural organisations.