Main Piece: “Leeli lemdi re
Leelo nagarvel no chhod
Parbhu parodh na re
Maar gher uttaara karta jaao
Utaaro nahi karun re
Maar gher Sita juve vaat
Sita ekla re
Juve ram-lakhman ni vaat
What is it: This is an old folksong that was sung by my grandmother and her friends at Garbas. In Vaghela (village of about 100 in population size), my friends and I learned it from our grandmothers and mothers, and would sing it every year when Navratri came around, so it has stuck with me since then. This is a song that we would dance to. It is telling the story of Ram and Sita (God and Goddess couple). Ram is rushing to get home because Sita is alone at home and waiting for him. I am not sure the origin of the song, but it has been sung in my village for many generations.
Where did you learn it: I learned it when back in my village, from my grandmother and mother.
What does it mean to you: It is a reminder of my times in my little village growing up. It’s a song from my childhood, and is a memory in such a way.
Context of Performance:
This song would be sung at the Garbas (mass prayer and dance gatherings) of Navratri (Indian festival honoring Gods). People would dance and sing along to this song.
After researching this song, it came to my attention that this song has been used in several films in the Indian movie industry, including major blockbuster “Ram Leela” which was an Indian rendition of Romeo and Juliet (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK5E_aeBGYA). Considering it has been used in several major movies, it must to be very well known and wide spread, beyond just the small village of Vaghela in Gujarat. Stories of Gods tend to last longer through history, and this may have had a hand in the spread of the song throughout India.