‘Desi’ is emerging in a transformed and branded avatar, to enthral people and amaze them with its richness and importance. In a first-of-its-kind effort, RK Audio has brought out an album — Kolar Desi Gold Songs, a musical collection of rare Telugu and Kannada folk songs. The legends of Indian music have lent their voice to the unique effort.
The tri-lingual district (most people here know Telugu, Kannada and Tamil), Kolar, is a mine of folk literature and tradition.
Neither the State Government nor the Telugu scholars or universities ever attached importance to the folklore in Telugu.
The Andhra Pradesh Government is not bothered because the region is in Karnataka. The rich Telugu folklore has become an orphan here and is in the verge of extinction.
Realising this, two individuals — Rajkumar, a resident of HSR Layout (Kaikondanahalli) and K Y Narayanaswamy, playwright and poet, began the daunting task about six to seven years ago.
Despite knowing that the project had no commercial viability, Rajkumar financed the project.
The duo identified and mobilised more than 100 folk singers, organised camps and collected (recorded it for over 300 hours) more than 500 folk songs of Telugu, which were on the verge of extinction.
Out of this, they chose 12 songs and also translated them into Kannada. They decided to bring out a CD/cassette, both in Kannada and Telugu. Impressed with the effort, noted music director Hamsalekha offered to compose music.
As many as 13 singers – Shankar Mahadevan, S P Balasubramanyam, Kunal Ganjawala, Hariharan, Kavitha Krishnamurthy, Malgudi Shubha, Manu, Vijay Jesudas, Chitra, Hemanth, Sangeetha Katti, Nanditha, Latha Hamsalekha -- have sang in both languages for the 12 songs.
Rajkumar, the producer, says, “Folklore is a mine of wealth. It is neglected. It requires proper branding and good marketing.
We thought the celebrity singers would help sensitise and reach people both in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
It would ensure cultural unity and popularise folklore as a brand. I know presently, there is no commercial viability for our effort. But, the effort is much more than economics. In fact, impressed with our object, some singers reduced their fee.”