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To keep spirit of folk alive

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By NAMITA PANDA
  • Published 9.06.12
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Bhubaneswar, June 8: When Sambalpuri folk singer Padmini Dora came on stage at the Rangabati festival organised by the Odisha tourism department recently, the emotional intensity of her voice left the audience asking for more.

From veteran musicians to listeners at the programme, everyone appreciated Padmini’s performance.

For the singer, who has been performing for over 20 years now, every time she gets such a response for her rendition, it makes her “dreams” come true.

Born and brought up in Sambalpur, Padmini neither came from a family with a background in music nor had she ever imagined that she would be a professional singer one day.

“I loved music as a school girl. But I never got a chance to be trained. So, I never thought that I could make a career in singing. But when I was in Class VIII, some eminent singers of our region once heard my voice at a school performance and encouraged me to sing,” said Padmini.

By just listening to shows on classical music on the radio, a 15-year-old Padmini trained her vocal chords. Later, she gathered the courage to appear for an audition at the All India Radio in 1991 as a Class X student and got through.

“My parents consistently helped me to pursue my dreams and, miraculously, I happened to meet well-known singer Bijay Behera when I was looking for some guidance. He was my first guru and trained me the basics,” she said.

Padmini soon established her name by singing pure folk songs for musicians such as Abhijit Mazumdar for albums such as Chanhara and Luk Lukani. Her works with composer Ratan Pujari are popular even today.

One of her well-known albums is Manchuni that is based on traditional Radha Krishna rasa in the Danda folk style of Balangir and Sonepur.

The singer who is well versed in nachniya, bajniya, dalkhai, raserkali and danda folk varieties of singing, however, laments that folk music is in a bad state.

“The advent of video albums should have brought about a positive change for folk music, but over the years it only brought vulgarity. But our efforts are on to keep the authentic traditional music and songs alive. We are sure folk songs will be conserved,” said Padmini, who is a part of the Lahiri dance troupe that performs the authentic music and dance of western Odisha.

Talking about receiving appreciation for her shows, Padmini said: “When I started performing on stage, I felt like I was living my dreams and the same happens even today. I am delighted that the urban crowd love the rhythm of our music.”

Although busy performing throughout the country for various cultural programmes, Padmini loves being in Bhubaneswar. “I have always received rave response for the authentic folk music and I will be back here to perform during Raja,” she said.