• Andhra Pradesh

    These are selections from a collection of Telugu epics and story telling forms made by the well known scholar Velcherlu Narayan Rao in connection with his documentation of six Telugu epics. Though these traditions vary, they all intersperse the narrative with singing accompanied by an instrument.

    Ao Naga story telling

    The Ao Naga tribe has a rich storytelling tradition and consider the oral tradition as a means of preserving and passing down their culture from generation to generation. Ao stories are famous and include the history of their origin.

    Track Information : This is a tale of a prawn and a crab that lived together in the river. They would laugh and make fun of each other, and yet they were great friends. The story tries to describe the feeling of enjoying the present as our fates are already sealed.
    Performer(s) : Arenla Subong
    Collection : Tara Douglas


    The Manbhatt tradition involves narration and singing of stories called "akhyan" from the Puranas to the accompaniment of music played on copper pot (man) for rhythmic accompaniment. The popularity of this tradition is attributed to Kavi Premanand whose mission it was to bring the epics and history to common people through accessible and simple language.The narrative consists of stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata and the Puranas. These are also interspersed by episodes from everyday life. In current times, further accompaniment is provided by cymbals (jhanjh), barrel drum (pakhavaj), tabla, and harmonium.

    Track Information : Okha Haran, akhyan composed by Kavi Premanand- performed by Manbhatt Dharmiklal Pandya
    Performer(s) : Dharmiklal Pandya
    Collection : ARCE Atlas Project Collection

    Epic of Dhola

    The Dhola is an oral epic of Uttar Pradesh, also often referred to as the Dhola Maru to which it is connected. In UP the Dhola is, however, the story of Nal and Damayanti, and ends with the birth of their son, Dhola. Dhola is performed by men - singing and narrating by turns. It was traditionally accompanied by a chikara, a fiddle type instrument.

    Track Information :
    Performer(s) : Ram Swarup Dhimar
    Collection : Susan S. Wadley
  • Exibhit Annanmar Katai

    Track Information : Annanmar Katai : The Birth story of the twins : Narrative about time passing.
    Performer(s) : Erucanampalayam Ramasami & Olappalayam Palanisami
    Collection : Brenda Beck


    Rajasthan has a wealth of narrative traditions, ranging from those that may be called ballads, and are known as gatha which are sung and katha which are recited. It is also famous for the painted scrolls called "phars" that accompany epics such as the Pabuji and Devnarayan epics. In all such cases, the narration and singing is interspersed by explanations called "arthav" and response by listeners who are called "hunkar:.


    This selection is drawn from a variety of narrative traditions of Karnataka, referred to as katha or kathe in plural. They are story narratives performed through recitation and music and include Burra Katha, Kamsale, Chaudike, Jogi and Tatva. Musically the Katha tradition follows both the Hindustani and the Karnatak raga families.