Music from India
Kunti, Bharani song
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RK DAT 20
Outside the Bhagavati temple, Kodungallor Bharani festival, Central Kerala, Kerala
This piece belongs to the Bharani vocal genre, which is sung during the annual temple festival in Kodungallur (central Kerala). Here the Kunti story, taken from the Indian epic Mahabharata, is told from an erotic perspective. Kunti was the mother of one of the Pandava brothers and known as a personification of the divine female energy shakti. The rhythmic phrase ‘thaanaro thannaro thaka thaanaro thannaro’ is repeated by the chorus after each verse. Once in a year the birthday of the famous goddess of Kodungallur is celebrated by 100,000 people with a huge festival. One prominent feature is the singing of mainly erotic Bharani songs by numerous groups. The majority of people come from the tiny villages in central and northern Kerala. The numerous priests and priestesses from village temples are visible in their red cloth garments. The 2001 festival featured around 60 singers, who were supported by chorus singers, dancing and jumping around the lead singer. The artists speak and sing in the south Indian language Malayalam. (additional input by Arun Varma)