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A systematic study of folk literature began in Karnataka in about 1783 when Col. Colin McKenzie, a western scholar who traveled in many parts of Karnataka and collected valuable information regarding folk stories, medicines, rituals, legends, mythology and other customs. It is because of his enormous efforts that the information which was primarily oral got transformed into a written form. Later, the German missionary worker and a scholar Rev. Ferdinand Kittel and J.F. Fleet made some extensive studies in Kannada folklore. Kittel has compiled a number of proverbs collected from the general public and Fleet collected a number of folk songs and compiled them in his series of articles entitled “A Selection of Kanarese Ballads” in 1885.

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In recent years, scholars such as L.R.Hegde, M.M.Kalburgi, Aravinda Malagathi, Karim Khan and H.L.Nagegowda have made considerable research work in the field of folk literature. The Kannada University of Hampi, the Karnataka Sahithya Academy, the Janapada and Yakshagana Academy and Karnataka Janapada Trust have played an active role in studies with an anthropological approach for collecting a vast body of knowledge concerned with the life of common man and some marginalized communities.


Folk songs in Kannada or Janapada geethe can be classified as follow;

1. Small songs which are sung on occasions such as marriage, festivals, traveling and even while doing every day activities from cooking to the harvesting of crops. There are songs which are sung even while cleaning the house, washing clothes, flooring the corn and weaving basket or cloth. They are sung either to relieve the tedium and the monotony of work or purely for the sake of entertainment. The subject could be parental love for their children, the sorrows of a childless woman, the suffering of a married woman under her mother in law, a young man forbidding his mother after being married, pure love songs, the agony of separation; there are endless subjects on which we find a folk song for each occasion.


2. Ballads sung in commemoration of some heroic deeds by the legendary men and women; these are basically narrative in their form. Very often these songs are related to deities or mythological figures. Particular communities such as Goravas, Gollas Koravanjis have accustomed their own different styles of folk songs. There are songs of sacrifices made by the common people or even heroes to protect and safeguard the community from natural calamities, wild animals or even some evil forces.


3. Religious and philosophical songs such as the songs of Dasa sahithya popularized by Purandaradasa, Kanakadasa and Tatvapadas of Santa Shishunala Sharifa are both religious and have philosophical message for life. Usually the originator of a folk song is not known but the literature flows from one generation to the other just by memorization. Though the originators in this case are well known the literature has managed to flow through the ages.


4. Lullabies are the expressions of parental love and care for their young ones. They are sung to make a crying or an adamant baby to fall asleep soon.

Now a day, the tender and supple folk song culture is being suppressed under the heaviness of modern music and culture. There is an absolute need to retain the rich heritage of our folk culture. Contact for translating medical documents into Kannada

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