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Rajasthan >> Rajasthan Folk Music & Dance
Rajasthan Folk Music & Dance
Music and dance are deeply ingrained in
Rajasthani life. The stillness of the desert evening and the upsurge of life
in the short- lived rainy season or spring are filled with soulful, full-
throated music and rhythmic dance, Instruments such as sarangi, kamaycha,
satara, nad, and morchang create a wide range of liting and melodious sound
in accompanment to the music of the Bhopas, Kalbeliyas, Langas and the
Manganiyars as well as the lively and spontaneous dances, ghoomar, gair and
chari. Through songs the legendary battles of the Rajputs are told. The
music engenders both a spirit of identity and provides entertainment as
relief from the daily grind of wrenching a living from the inhospitable land
of heat and dust storms.
Folk Music There is a great tradition of popular poetry, which is written
under the rival banners of Turru and Kalangi. This is a sung in groups in
Jikri, Kanhaiyya or Geet, Hele-ke-Khyal and Bam Rasiya of Eastern Rajasthan.
The Folk music of Rajasthan is an indispensible component of functions such
as weddings, engagements, and births. There is a plethora of songs for such
occasions. There are also many songs associated with planting and
harvesting. In these activities the villagers routinely sing of their hopes,
fears and aspirations. These songs are best enjoyed in the Ratijagas- the
nightlong soirees of devotional songs which induces a trance-like spiritual
milieu. Other traditional songs that reflect the rich traditional heritage
of Rajasthan include Endooni, Morubai, Diggipura ka raja, Dhola dhol majira
baje re. Folk songs of Rajasthan depict various moods including loneliness
of lovers, their union, inter-personal relationship, laughter, faith and
happiness. Folk music is also used for educational purposes.
The haunting melody of Rajasthan evokes from a variety of delightfully
primitive looking instruments. The stringed variety include the Sarangi,
Rawanhattha, Kamayacha, Morchang and Ektara.Percussion instruments come in
all shapes and sizes from the huge Nagaras and Dhols to the tiny Demrus. The
Daf and Chang are a big favorite of the Holi (the festival of colors)
Flutes and bagpipers come in local flavors such as Shehnai, Poongi, Algoza,
Tarpi, Been and Bankia.
Dances of Rajasthan
- Kalbelia Dance
This fascinating kalbelia dance is performed by the women of
Kalbelia community, age-old occupation being catching snakes and
trading snake venom. Hence the dance movements and the costumes bear
resemblance to that of the serpents. Dancers are attired in
traditional black swirling skirts, sway sinuously to the
accompaniment of pungi, dufli and plaintive notes of the 'been' -
the wooden instrument of the snake charmers.
Two or three women sing in a high-pitched, free flowing voice,
while others join in the dance. The vigorous and zestful display of
their perfect movements to the enchanting tune of musical
instruments is a treat to the eyes.
- Ghoomar Dance
This is basically a community dance for women and performed on
auspicious occasions. Derived from the word ghoomna, piroutte, this
is a very simple dance where the ladies move gently, gracefully in
circles. The Ghoomar is the characteristic dance of the Bhils. Men
and women sing alternately and move clockwise & anticlockwise
giving free and intended play to the ample folds of ghagra.
- The Kucchi Ghodi
Free dancing full of zest, with rows of dancers waving colourful
pennants makes the Bam Rasiya of the Braj region spectacular. It is
performed at Holi. The 'Kucchhi Ghodi' or dummy horse dance is
performed on festive occasions, by men who are as colourfuly
attired, as are their horses.
- Caari or pot Dance
This dance requires a lot of patience and balance. The dancers
carry brightly lit brass pots on their heads, displaying many
flexible movements of the body. It is a dance of gay occassions.
- Gair Ghoomar
This is one of the many dance-forms of the Bhil tribals. Performed
during Holi festival, this is among a few performances where both
men and women dance together.
- Terah Taal (Thirteen Beats)
This is a dance of professional expertise where the dancer performs
with the help of hollow metallic discs (Manjeeras) tied on the
hands, legs and foreheads - a thirteen different places. The
performers, mostly ladies, start beating these manjeeras at thirteen
different places in rhythms with the music.
- Fire Dance
The Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu are renowned for their tartaric
power and this dance is in keeping with their lifestyle. A large
ground is prepared with live wood and charcoal where the Jasnathi
men and boys jump on to the fire to the accompaniment of drum beats.
The music gradually rises in tempo and reaches a crescendo, the
dancers seem to be in a trance like state.
- Drum Dance
This is a professional dance-form from Jalore. Five men with huge
drums round their necks, some with huge cymbals accompany a dancer
who holds a naked sword in his mouth and performs vigourously by
twirling three painted sticks