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Epic Singing of Garhwal - The Story of Kirthipal and Kunjepal

Bhag Chand
Photo by Andrew Alter. Courtesy of ARCE.
Bhag Chand performing the pawara.
Photo by Andrew Alter. Courtesy of ARCE.

This album contains three episodes from the Pawara of Kirthipal and Kunjepal, which narrates the lives of the two brothers of Thati Silla Kot.

Pawaras are sung at night, and the audience joins the lead singer in certain portions of the performance. The singing is accompanied by the playing of the hurki, an hourglass drum, and the thali, a metal plate played by two sticks. The audience responds by singing an elongated vowel, called a bhaun, at the ends of many phrases. At other times they repeat text fragments from the end of the singers lines. The performance includes sung recitations of the story line as well as songs for dancing.

The main singer of this album is Bhag Chand, a hurkiya from Garhwal in the Central Himalayas. Bhag Chand sings pawaras (heroic epic tales) and jagarn (songs that awaken deities) as a vocation. He lives in the village of Naogaon, which is located in the district of Pauri in the state of Uttarakhand.