Music of Odisha

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Music of India
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735.jpg
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
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National anthem Jana Gana Mana
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Odisha is a state of India, one of the musical centres of South Asia. Travelling bards are a historic part of the country's heritage. In the 11th century, Odissi folk music was codified into a classical style, related to other styles of Indian classical music. Though it has been claimed that the Odissi tradition was a separate style of classical music, it is more commonly said to be a kind of Hindustani music.[1]


Like Hindustani and Carnatic systems, Odissi music is a separate system of Indian classical music[clarification needed] and has all the essential as well as potential ingredients of Indian classical form. But it has not risen to prominence due to apathy from the time of British rule in Odisha, want of its proper study, revival, propagation, etc.[clarification needed] Despite this, the traditional music form could be saved and maintained in its pristine form thanks to the musicians, particularly of Jaga Akhadas of Puri district, who could develop and maintain the music. The music movement of Odisha, however, took a different turn after independence.

The existing musical tradition of Odisha, the cumulative experience of the last two thousand five hundred years if not more, can broadly be grouped under five categories:

  1. Tribal music
  2. Folk music
  3. Light music
  4. Light-Classical music
  5. Classical music

The tribal music as the title signifies is confined to the tribals living mainly in the hilly and jungle regions and sparsely in the coastal belt of Odisha. Odisha has the third largest concentration of tribes constituting about one fourth of the total population. They are distributed over 62 tribal communities.

Odisha has folk songs which are sung on different festivals and specific occasions for their own enjoyment. Folk music in general is the expression of the ethos and mores of the folk communities. Of the variety of folk music of Odisha, mention may be made of Geeta, Balipuja Geeta, Kela Keluni Geeta, Dalkhai Geeta, Kendra Geeta, Jaiphula Geeta, Ghumura Geeta, Ghoda Nacha and Danda Nacha Geeta, Gopal Ugala and Osa-Parva-Geeta.

Bhajan, Janan, Oriya songs based on ragas, Rangila Chaupadi are grouped under light classical music, which forms a segment of Oriya music. Sri Geetagovinda, Anirjukta Pravadha, Divya Manusi Prabandha, Chautisa, Chhanda, Chaupadi (now known as Orissi), Champu, Malasri, Sariman, Vyanjani, Chaturang, Tribhang, Kuduka Geeta, Laxana and Swaramalika are the various sub-forms, which individually or collectively constitute the traditional Orissi music. These sub-forms of the traditional Orissi music can be categorised under the classical music of Odisha.


Further reading[edit]