Folk Songs of Karnataka

                                     Folk Songs of Karnataka

A song originating among the people of a country or area, passed by oral tradition from one singer or generation to the next, often existing in several versions, and marked generally by simple, modal melody and stanzaic, narrative verse.

Folk songs in Kannada or Janapada geethe can be classified as follow;


  1. Small songswhich are sung on occasions such as marriage, festivals, traveling and even while doing every day activities from cooking to the harvesting of crops. There are songs which are sung even while cleaning the house, washing clothes, flooring the corn and weaving basket or cloth. They are sung either to relieve the tedium and the monotony of work or purely for the sake of entertainment. The subject could be parental love for their children, the sorrows of a childless woman, the suffering of a married woman under her mother in law, a young man forbidding his mother after being married, pure love songs, the agony of separation; there are endless subjects on which we find a folk song for each occasion.


  1. Balladssung in commemoration of some heroic deeds by the legendary men and women; these are basically narrative in their form. Very often these songs are related to deities or mythological figures. Particular communities such as Goravas, Gollas Koravanjis have accustomed their own different styles of folk songs. There are songs of sacrifices made by the common people or even heroes to protect and safeguard the community from natural calamities, wild animals or even some evil forces.

 Folk Songs of Karnataka

It can be further classified into 12 tradition, namely-

1.devara guddas, 2.neelagaras, 3.ganeplayers, 4.gorvas, 5.choudikeyavaru   6.aradigalu 7.karapaladavaru, 8.tamburiyavaru 9.kinnara jogigalu 10. Dombidasaru 11.helavaru 12.telugu jangamaru


Some of the popular Ballads are:

Gunasagari,  sarajappa nayakana kathe, madakari nayaka, kiththuru chennamma, sangoli rayana, balanagamma, Malaya madeswra kavya, manteswami kavya, yallammana kavya, mailaralingana kavya.


  1. Religious and philosophical songssuch as the songs of Dasa sahithya popularized by Purandaradasa, Kanakadasa and Tatvapadas of Santa Shishunala Sharifa are both religious and have philosophical message for life. Though the originators in this case are  well known the literature has managed to flow through the ages.


  1. Lullabiesare the expressions of parental love and care for their young ones. They are sung to make a crying or an adamant baby to fall asleep soon.

Now a day, the tender and supple folk song culture is being suppressed under the heaviness of modern music and culture.


In Karnataka real attempt to collect folk-songs was made by the end of the 19 th century. In recent years, scholars such as L.R.Hegde, M.M.Kalburgi, Aravinda Malagathi, Karim Khan and H.L.Nagegowda have made considerable research work in the field of folk literature.



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