The Pala is a long musical narrative punctuated with explanations ...

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The Pala is a long musical narrative punctuated with explanations ...

PALA

The Pala is a long musical narrative punctuated with

explanations, rendered By a singer (gayaka) accompanied by a

band of four to five persons, one cymbals plays on a drum

(mridanga) and the others playing musical instruments like

cymbals. The pala singer describes episodes from the

Mahabharata, Ramayana or other Puranic Texts. The musicians

who accompany him join at appropriate moments in a chorus or

semblance of rudimentary dialogue. The tale is interspersed with

loud music of drums and cymbals. The singer and his

accompanists dance using very simple rhythmic stepping as they

sing.

The Pala singer begins by invoking the blessings of a deity, usually

Sarala, the muse of poetry, and briefly states the theme of his

song. As he continues his performance another singer asks him

questions or requests him to elucidate a point. This the pala

singer does with great élan: Generally, the pala songs are

Taken from the rich repertoire of Oriya poetry and literature

with appropriate references To relevant Sanskrit poetry.

The pala singer not only sings out the narrative song. But have to

be highly innovative to establish rapport with his audience. He is


dressed in glittering robes and wears an ornate headgear. He

holds a chamara (whisk) in his hand, which he wields with

extreme flourish, now as a weapon, now as a fan, and

now as a pen according to the needs of his song and waves it as a

of divine blessing. Thus he has to combine drama, song and dance

and as a narrator, detached from the main events of his dramatic

song.

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