Artiste of the week
Bhubaneswar: Bhakti poets since 13th century had sung paeans of Lord Jagannath and his siblings over the years in Odisha. Devotional songs rendered by Nimai Charan Harichandan and Bhikari Bal are still hummed by several music lovers across the state. However, Orissa Post interacts with Pabitra Kumar, one such amazing singer at his Bhubaneswar residence where he narrates about his passion, ambition and devotion as a singer. Excerpts:
Before we go into your commitment to singing, should we make a survey of your grooming years?
I was born at Nainloo of Jagatsinghpur into a middle-class family of five siblings. My father Manoranjan Barik and Mother Tanulata Barik were music lovers. Nainloo was popular for its instrument khanjani. My elderly father use to take me to musical concerts involving khanjani. Without the help of a guru, I started singing at the age of seven. But, later I attended music classes of Guru Aditya Narayan Biswal of Jagatsinghpur where I learnt Odissi classical for three years.
How did you get drawn to Bhajans from classical?
Although I was learning classical, veteran vocal singers like Nimai Harichandan, Bhikari Bal and Arabinda Muduli attracted me to learn bhajans on my own. My passion for music hampered my studies that led to a fight with my elder sister. I left home and went to Paradip to pursue music. But destiny had set a different course for me. I went to Cuttack and met Singer Narendra Kumar. He took me to Subham Music, where I sang for ‘Chandan Pani’ bhajan cassette and it turned out to be a great musical hit.
Can you credit one who has been your inspiration?
My elderly father Khetramohan Barik has been my inspiration. Everybody in my village adores me. Due to the blessings of my village deity Siddheswara Mahadev I have become what I am today.
What was the motivating force that steers you to sing Bhajans of Lord Jagannath?
Although I had sung many bhajans, the bhajans of Lord Jagnnath have given me fame and recognition. I was the only singer who got a chance to perform in recent times in front of the idol of Lord Jagannath. After reciting Jayadev’s Geeta Govinda when the servitors asked me to sing for Lord Jagnnath I was speechless. Tears welled up my eyes as I sang before the deity. Then I promised to sing only for the Lord.
What special songs have you prepared for this Rath Yatra?
I have sung six bhajans for Priyanka Vaidynath production house’s digital video Srikhetrawala. I intend to launch a school where Geeta Govind and bhajan singing will be taught.
Do you groom your children in music?
Not really. But my son and daughter sing well without training.
Do you have a message to offer to your fans?
I request my fans to love the Lord Jagannath and listen to his bhajans.
Chaitali Shome, OP
Best singer award from Odisha Music Association
Omkar Sanman for Popular Bhajan Singer in 2013
Best singer award from Rourkela Music Circle.