Watch: Somanath living with playing extinct Dhuduki sonata

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 02, 2024 IST

Prasant Kumar Dash

Bhubaneswar, May 2: At a time when most of the antique folk cultures and art-forms of Odisha are almost fading away in oblivion, Somanath who hails from the Kalbelia Tribe is yet living with performing extinct Dhuduki sonata in hamlets.

Somanath Pradhan who shelters at Kankili-Dharampur’s Kalbelia slum, a hinterland in Odisha’s Angul district, has yet treasured the Dhuduki form of music extant and alive.

Pradhan as a young champ is not only playing Dhuduki music solo for his passion, he is earning bread for his family exclusively performing Dhuduki gigs and songs round the year that his fore-generations had indigenously adopted as their prime profession. He is popular as a maestro of the folk-music across the district.

On the eve of the Pana Sankranti, Somanath was discovered on the Gopal Prasad village street in the high noon, playing varieties of solo Odia, Sambalpuri folk and ancient vocal lyrics decked with classical Raags with wide range of contemporary duets, While Somanath was rejuvenating his sweet voice and strained fingers on the thin strips of string, his mother was collecting cash and kinds, in lieu of his son’s artistic presentation. 

Somanath acquired the ancient art of Dhuduki from his father. As a primer his parents in a first, taught him the art of playing the dhuduki instrument along with some basic songs, easier to grasp. Over the years, he exercised  ‘Kahai mana are mo bola kara’ from the Mana Bodha Choutisa and 'Bhaju kina Rama namare kumara' adage-songs from the Tika Gobinda Chandra among a wide varieties of ancient Raags in tune with playing the Dhuduki. 

Sharing struggle of his earlier-life, Pradhan said he had no pie to afford for a professional Dhuduki instrument  valued at least Rs 2000 ten years ago. He had crafted one of his own utilising low-cost or no cost local tools available at hand, a piece of plastic pipe collected from roadside scraps, a few square inch of snake hide and some strips of string extracted from the palm-trunk.

Asked on trying other professions, Pradhan said “I am good at civil construction work and broom- crafting. I frequently tried  working out on all of these trades. However, I had to come back to music once again"

According to Somnath’s mother, they are living in a temporary cottage since decades, having no permanent roof, even a homestead land of own."Apart from it, Somanath who is a full-timer in performing the traditional music is still deprived of government pension, meant for cultural performer ", she laments.

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