saregama | sare gama | saregama The Music of Srimangal

Gramophones and traditional instruments, in the form of the saregama and the pakhawaj are used by performers and singers of various South Indian ethnic groups. It is a part of their cultural tradition to play music, especially during festivals such as Onam, Karthik Pongal and Ganesh Chathurthi. In fact, a lot of musical geniuses such as Youssou Ndi, Amrutha Sen, Sukhwinder Singh, Chandran Choudhury and others have created their own versions of these musical styles using the saregama or the pakhawaj. Some of these have gone on to become legendary artists and have achieved considerable fame and accolade in the world of cinema. The late Youssou Ndi was a notable character in the film Padmashuf, where he plays the role of an evil Rajah who desires to convert his uncle’s daughter into a Muslim. A song called Dab Dur Nan, that plays at the end of the movie, is entirely played using the saregama.

Similarly, the Baahubali film, directed by S.S. Rajamouli, also glorifies non-film music and its importance in the South Indian cultural heritage. There are several noteworthy characters in Baahubali, including the evil Rajah, who uses the saregama to attack his opponents and create havoc in the Hindu religion and society. Many musical actors and actresses from the Hindi speaking states have been nominated for best actor and best actress awards at international film festivals.

Another noteworthy feature of the Baahubali film is the usage of the saregama, which is mostly played by female artists, as an instrumental piece in the background during some pivotal scenes. There are several versions of this particular genre of bengali music, with the most common being gangnam, jantar saregama, and sangeet kuja. The traditional version of bengali song, gangnam, is played using the tabla, while the modern version is played using the rapier. There are a number of songs from this genre which are now commonly used in telugu films.

Recently, non Hindi film directors have started to use saregama in their films. The saregama was featured in the opening sequence of Baahubali, which added life to the story and gave more spice to the action. Film director Shankar one of the leading film directors of India is currently using the saregama as a background music for his movies.

Over the last few decades, carvaan has grown in popularity in the South India mainly due to the ban on alcohol within the state. Caravaan was previously known only as ‘Pongal’ by the people of Tamil Nadu, but now it has acquired a wider following in different parts of India mainly owing to the superstar Banqueting with the lead character in Baahubali. The main genre of Caravaan which has gained a wider acceptance is the Raga genre which showcases the distinctiveness and brilliance of Srimangal. The unique music style of Srimangal which is largely confined to two major regions of Karnataka ( Karnataka Raga and Central Karnataka Raga) has found acceptance in other states of India such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. With the growing popularity of Srimangal film music, the Telugu Devaramaan theatre group has also gained popularity all over India. Srimangal is the main musical genre of the Devaramaan theatre group which gives its performances in almost all the Telugu shows till date.

In the previous decades, Srimangal has been adapted into many different styles, which is largely because of the western influence. Some of the more popular styles in this genre that the westerners have brought are Kullu Bhogu, Kappad, Kamalayam and Naidu Bheema. The most significant feature of Srimangal is the wide variety of vocals which can be sung in one song and still have a completely different meaning in another context. This makes it more interesting and challenging to analyze and interpret the music from a scholars viewpoint as opposed to just describing the vocal styles or bengali songs which have been the mainstream music of Bengal for many decades.

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