Music from India

Maasti ballad

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:06:17

  • Cultures

    Telugu

  • Shelf mark

    RK DAT 17

  • Recording date

    2001-03-05

  • Recording locations

    In a small concrete room, Jana Chetana, Palakonda, Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh.

  • Performance occasion

    Early evening

  • Performers

    Simhachalam (higher pitched jankili konda), Lakshmana Swami (bass jankili konda)

  • Recordist

    Killius, Rolf

  • Description

    This piece is taken from the Mahabharata epic and draws on the love story ‘Shesireka’s Wedding’. The performers are semi-professional Maasti bards from northern Andhra Pradesh who settled next to the Sora villages and sing in the south Indian language Telugu. The piece is performed in call-and-response style, where the lead singer and chorus slightly overlap. The second singer comments on the lead singer’s part and repeats parts of the lyrics. The rhythm is produced by the two versatile jankili konda instruments, one bass and one higher pitched. The instrument consists of a small one-faced cylindrical drum and a cotton thread attached to the centre of the hide. It is held in the left arm and the string is plucked with the right thumb. At the same time the sirda, a wooden stick with attached bells, is beaten against the instrument body, with the left hand. Simhachalam, the lead singer plays the higher pitched jankili konda, while Lakshmana Swami is the second singer and bass jankili konda player, and Balraj the other chorus singer.

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