A song to welcome Sankranti
Bhogimantalu, Sankrantulu, Kanuma Poojalu Saradalu in 2018, singer, popular as Mangli, sang a festive special song for Sankranti along with the rapper Meghraj, giving a contemporary touch to the music, while Telangana writer Kandikondas lyrics touched upon the fun element and the traditional aspects of the harvest festival
‘Bhogimantalu, Sankrantulu, Kanuma Poojalu Saradalu’ – in 2018, singer, popular as Mangli, sang a festive special song for Sankranti along with the rapper Meghraj, giving a contemporary touch to the music, while Telangana writer Kandikonda’s lyrics touched upon the fun element and the traditional aspects of the harvest festival. A couple of years ago rapper Roll Rida recorded the ‘Patang’ song depicting the kite flying aspect of the festival in Telangana that gave him enough popularity to gain entry into the reality show on television ‘Bigg Boss’.
Festival songs are as inherent to Telugu culture as the festival itself. And women are known to have sung and danced their way through the festivities and made it into a great tradition of camaraderie and merriment. Songs signifying the many rituals of the festival have been there since centuries passed on from one generation to another. And adding to the repertoire are the current crop of singers creating their own poetry and music to add to the rich treasure.
With news channels and web channels making a tradition of releasing special songs during important festivals, many lyricists and singers are religiously creating lilting songs with colourful videos, and some of these songs enjoy great popularity. Sundaravelli Sridevi, a song writer and singer has already published 13 books of songs and music with 2 more in print. She has written Sankranti songs in her book, ‘Pandugala Patalathoranalu’, which she religiously sings whenever she gets an opportunity. She along with Swarna Mangalampalli gave a special performance of the songs at Shilparamam in Hyderabad. “I tried to recreate the traditions associated with the festival in my songs.
It is the Hemantha Ruthuvu that heralds the agriculture season for the farmers and hence there is a song commemorating the month. I wrote a song that signifies the harvesting process when women sing together – Siri Siri Muvva’ and the tradition of inviting son-in-laws in the song ‘Chandamama’. I have rendered the songs in folk tradition,” she explains.
Newer songs come with each season, some get popular, and a few others enjoy decent fame; however, most songs are restricted to the present. But, scores of songs from the past are long forgotten.
Songs of stalwart poets like Late Devulapalli Krishna Sastri, and Late Balantrapu Rajanikanta Rao have been popularised by All India Radio and Doordarshan. Eminent music composer Late Palagummi Viswanatham gave soulful music to many such songs and ensured they stayed in circulation by teaching his students. However, in recent times, one has not heard them much. And the newer generation is completely unaware of them. By leaving behind the songs from the past we are making our culture that much poorer, opine singers and writers, who have grown up listening to and learning these songs.
There are several songs associated with the Bhogi festival, when bonfire is lit early morning and children are showered with regi pallu (jujebi) towards the evening. There are songs sung by women dancing around the Gobbemmalu (the balls of cow dung decorated with flowers symbolic of Goddess Durga placed in the middle of the Muggu - Rangoli) singing in praise of Lord Vishnu in his many avatars, mostly Lord Krishna that are fun to sing and melodic enough to dance– ‘Gobbiyyallo Sakhiya Vinave Chinni Krishnuni Sodari Vinave’, ‘Gobbiyallo Gobbiyallo Sankranti Pandagoche Gobbiyallo’, ‘Dukkidukki dunnaranta, Emi dukki dunnaranta Rajugari thotalo Jamadukki dunnaranta’ go back a long way. There is a cute song for children written by Balantrapu - ‘Chitti Chitti Regi Pallu, Chitti Thalapai Bhogipallu’ associated with the ritual. There are also classical keertanas like ‘Kolanu Dopariki Gobbillo’ by Annamayya associated with the festival.
‘Swagatamu Swagatamu Bhoodevi’ and ‘Neeru Jallina Mumgitlo Panneeru Jallina Vaakitlo’ written by Devulapalli Krishna Sastri are some of the songs that have remained in the mainstream for a long time before going into oblivion.
Only a few of the songs that have made into the Telugu films have sustained in the course of time – like ‘Kadavadi Neelu Kallapu Jalli Gobbillo Gobbillu’, ‘Ravamma Mahalakshmi’ etc. “Today composers and singers are making their own albums, which is a welcome feature. However, not many remember the old songs. I have learnt many songs from my teacher, Palagummi Viswanatham garu. But, today, not many want to learn light music. There should be more platforms encouraging programmes of such songs,” shares one of the noted music Gurus in Hyderabad, Hemavathi Nagaraj.
Interestingly, many women, today, are trying to go back to the roots and are digging into past even while enjoying the recently composed melodies to enjoy Sankranti in all its bright spirit.