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Buda Budakala, Ritualistic & Seasonal Performances of Andhra Pradesh

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The itinerant minstrels who move from village to village playing on a small-sized damarukam called 'bud-budak' before the dawn breaks are called buda-budakala vallu Plying on the bud-buak, they invoke several gods and goddesses belonging to all parts of the country, but with a special prayer to 'Amba' followed by invocations of the gods of the area in which they are touring. The famous invocation song "Amba Paluku - Jagadamba Paluku" (Speak 0 Amba - 0 Jagadamba) sung by these minstrels identify them as foretellers. They tour each village only once in an year and beg alms from each house after a week-long sojurn in the village from 3 A.M. to 6 A.M. each day awakening the people with their bud-budak playing and singing.
Known as Ramjogis, Sayila vallu and Buda Budakala vallu reside invarious parts of the state. They mainly inhabit the Srikakulam, East Godavari, Guntur, Prakasham and Nalgonda districts. Their family names and their ritual methods indicate that their ancestors had come from Maharashtra.

The instrument buda-budak is also known by several names: Udukka,huduka ,Dukka, dub dakka, etc. This instrument. and the people who use it while singing and touring the vitlage are mentioned in many Telugu literary texts. The way he dresses up is also described vividly in Ayyalaraju Narayanamatya's Hamsa Vimsati.

The buda-budaka ministrel wears a white dhoti tied in the fashion of a cyclist, a white shirt, a black coat on it, a red-coloured turban (rumal) and holds an old umbrella. He uses a black mark across his forehead along with marks of gandham. He wears large ear-rings, usually blue in colour. He also carries a deer horn which hangs down from his left shoulder and wears a tiger skin on his back. This is a large skin and falls down upto the thigh. With this dress and with the sqnorous playing on the bud-budak he tours the village. The outer cover of the bud-budak is made of 'sandra' or regi wood and is covered on either side by goat or deer skin. The rounded edges are covered with 'tangedi' wood. The middle part of the instrument is tightly tied with a thick thread intertwined several times. There are two 3" threads interwined with a knot at the end and with iron heeds at both ends which are fixed at the middle of the instrument. By moving the hand to the right and the left, these knotted threads strike at the two sides of the bud-budak and make the sound of 'bud-budak', and hence the name budbudak. The instrument produces shrill, but sonorous, sounds of mandra; madhyarria and tara swaras.

Their invocation and their foretelling are considered beneficial to the villages. They proudly declare that they learn their foretelling abilities from the birds (sakuna-pakshi) during the New Moon nights in grave-yeards. Without his visiting the houses during the Sankranti (harvesting), the festival is not complete.

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