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Pandavani

Pandavani is a lyrical folk form of narration of scenes/events from Mahabharata without the use of props. It usually has a lead singer/narrator and two accompanying musicians with instruments. It is popular in tribes in Chattisgarh especially the Pardhi community. Traditionally, it was practiced only by men, but since 1980s women have also been performing.

There are two styles of Pandavani: Vedamati and Kapalik.

In Vedamati, the artist sits on the floor and performs in a simple manner. In Kapalik, the performance is lively, where the artist enacts the scenes/characters and there is a lot of improvisation. Jhaduram Dewangan (Vedamanti style) and Teejan Bai (Kapalik style) are the most renowned performers of Pandavani. Some of the contemporary artists are Ritu Verma, Shantibai Chelak and Usha Barle.

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