Folk music styles of western Odisha

Popular styles of the folk music of western Odisha are – Dalkhai, Rasarkeli, Maelajada, Chutkuchuta, Jaiphula, Maleshree, Chhilollai, Humobauli, Gho gho rani, Duligeet, Sajani Geet,  Bayamana, Karma, Jhumer, Nachnia, Halia Geet etc.  Out of these, Dalkhai, Rasarkeli, Maelajada, Chutkuchuta, and Jaiphula are the styles meant for dance and basically, spinsters use to dance/perform to the beats in this styles wearing a typical costume like Katria, Bandria, Saktapar Saree etc. The traditional costumes and ornaments worn by the dancers add aesthetic appeal to the dance. These are for gaiety and merrymaking. Here the music composition is the same and lyrics are created at par with the need of the occasion.


Maleshree is used for the devotional purpose. Chilollai is a style that girl children use to sing during their playing a game called chhilolai (the game involves aerobics). Humobauli or Humo geet is sung by young girls in two groups. Gho Gho Rani is a style that is also used during a game where an individual wants to break the hand shackle and her friends reciprocate with the song not to allow her with ‘Gho gho rani, anthen anthen pani, ee bate jaunga, pichkari marunga’ (there is knee-deep water everywhere with horrendous sounds ‘Gho gho’, I wanna go this way, we will spray colors to forbid you) and so on.

Duligeet and Sajani Geet is the style sung by young girls during a ride in the swing. The hard truths of social life are narrated in Bayamana. Jhumer is usually played to the rhythm of the musical instrument ‘Mandal’ and this style is used to narrate the beauty of nature. Jhumer is also played during Karma naach, meant for Goddess Karamsani. Nachnia style is recommended for the songs to dance during occasions. This is played by both men and women. The dancers wear colorful local hand-woven Sambalpuri sarees and dhotis. Halia Geet is on the verge of extinction. It is the farmer’s song.

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