All India Radio (AIR), Berhampur, organised a folk music and dance concert at Aska on Sunday evening to showcase the folk art forms of Ganjam district. It was also an effort of the AIR to have archival recordings of the rare folk art forms for the next generation.

The concert was named ‘Vasant Utsav’ as a mark of welcome to spring. AIR Deputy Director-General Sudha Mishra attended the concert as the chief guest.

It may be noted that most of the folk art forms have survived till date due to patronage of the rural populace.


Highlight of the concert was performance of ‘Dhumpa’ by Aditya Kumar Patra’s troupe from Digaphandi area. ‘Dhumpa’ performances have become a rarity. But ‘Dhumpa’ is a part of Oriya literary and cultural history. ‘Dhumpa’ was designed by Odia poet Kavisurya Baladev Ratha (1779-1845) who was born in Ganjam district. He was also great Sanskrit scholar, singer and administrator. He was a multifarious personality who had also developed ‘Dhumpa’ to accompany the lyrical satires written by him. ‘Dhumpa’ is a specially designed long hollow decorated bamboo cylinder. The ‘Kathias’ beat the ‘Dhumpa’ to produce unique rhythmic sound.

This musical instrument used to accompany the singing of lyrical satires of Kavisurya in the past. The AIR would also make archival recording of this ‘Dhumpa’ recital.

During the folk festival, there were performances of several Leela forms of folk theatre of Ganjam district. They included Bharat Leela by Santosh Kumar Padhi’s troupe from Mahanalla, Ram Leela by Shyamsundar Panigrahi’s party from Pratapgiri, and Krushna Leela by Somanath Swain’s troupe from Bada Pankalbadi.

These Leela folk theatre performances are very long and at times their complete performance takes several days to complete. So, the troupes had chosen important portions of their long theatrical form to perform for a short time on the stage.

The troupe led by Ladukishore Sethi from Burupada performed Oshakothi. Oshakothi is a ritualistic folk art form which is usually held in villages to pray and please goddess Mangala, the presiding deity of the village. This folk music and dance concert began with welcome song by senior folk singers and Jodi Sankha performance by the troupe of Rajendra Prasad Patra’s from Badakusasthali.

AIR authorities, Berhampur, said since past several years they were making efforts to save and preserve performing folk art forms of Ganjam district.

All India Radio organised a music and dance concert ‘Vasant Utsav’