Kendrapara, July 31 (LocalWire): The age old Kendera singers, an integral part of the thriving cultural life of the coastal district of Kendrapara, are at the crossroads thanks to the coronavirus.
Kendera singers wander from village to village singing songs for a few rupees or rice.
Through their simple tunes, rudimentary instruments and melodious lyrics, they enchant the lives of the people, singing folk songs through the musical instrument Kendera.
COVID-19 has forced them to stay indoors, as lockdowns continue irregularly in different parts of the state.
This has deeply hampered their livelihood and means of earning money.
“As it is not possible for us to roam villages and sing songs anymore, our means of income is dead. I was only eight years old when I became a singer and began wandering my father.
My Kendera is my constant companion and it shall remain so for the rest of my life,” said Gunanidhi Nath, 68, a Kendera singer of Kasoti village outskirts of Kendrapara town.
“Essentially, Kendera music in its original form was meant for the poor and the uneducated. The simplicity of its form and deliverance makes it easily understandable.
Kendera, which was for long the medium of mass education and rural entertainment with its emphasis on social things and mythological songs is now on its dying bed due to coronavirus,” said Khirod Nath, a noted Kendera singer of Kasoti village.
Around 200 Kendera singers of Kasoti, Biraswati, Noliachakrapur, Nikirei,Chanchnia, Nuagaon, Palei, Pundala, ,Kiarabanka, Bijayanagar, Alabanka and Baghilo villages in Kendrapada district have been associated with Kendera songs to carry forward their traditional occupation.
Many have switched to other work to earn their livelihood as they cannot roam around and sing due to COVID-19.
“We are optimistic that the COVID-19 virus will disappear within a month, and we will wander from village to village to earn our livelihood by singing songs again,” said Natabar Nath, another Kendera singer.