Folk music and dance: symbols of India’s rich heritage

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    Indian folk musician playing musical instrument in Jaipur

    Every country connects people with its soul through music. When it comes to India, due to its rich cultural diversity, it has contributed greatly to various forms of folk music. Music has always been a part of Indian people and their culture. While classical music signifies the art form of music, folk music is a display of the way of life of people and society. Most of the Indian folk music is connected to a dance form performed along with the folk songs.

    Although folk songs seem to have lost their popularity with the onset of modern music, no traditional festival can really be complete without folk music. People across India usually travel to see these exotic melodies, the use of rare instruments, and artists’ play with words, which form the most vital elements of a folk song.

    The folk music and dance from Maharashtra – called the Lavani

    We bring to you some of the famous folk music of Indian culture:

    (1) Lavani
    Lavani is a very popular folk music of Maharashtra. During the 18th and 19th century, Maharashtra was a battle-torn state and this dance form served as a mode of entertainment to the tired soldiers. Lavani is divided into two types – the philosophical Nirguni Lavani and the sensual and erotic Shringari Lavani.

    It is a beautiful combination of song and dance, performed to the beats of “Dholak” or drum-like instruments. Lavani music is generally very vivacious and energetic and sung in a quick tempo. Its performance in front of a large audience is called Padhachi Lavani and when performed for a small select audience, it is called Baithakichi Lavani.

    Assamese traditional melodies through Bihu music or Bihugeet

    (2) Bihugeet
    Bihugeet is very beautiful folk music performed in Assam during the Bihu festival. It is generally associated with Bihu dance, performed by a group of young girls and boys, holding each other and swaying in unison. It is performed thrice in a year. The instruments used in Bihugeet are dhol, taal, flute, and pepa (made from buffalo horn).

    Bihugeet has sweet heart-touching music and lyrics from daily life, including lore from farmland, rural Assam, its people, their dreams, love, and so on. It is popular not only in Assam but also in other parts of north-eastern India.

    Bhangra – popular folk music and dance from Punjab

    (3) Bhangra
    Bhangra is a piece of very popular folk music and dance, performed in Punjab. It is one of the most lively styled dance, performed with contagious energy, egging on the dancers to move their bodies, even before they know. This dance form started gaining popularity post the 20th century, even beyond Punjab. It has become a regular feature of weddings, local fairs, and parties. Bollywood has also been taken by its storm. It is mostly performed on Baisakhi (a spring festival); the male dancers wear turbans, which represent pride and honor, while women wear long-flowing clothes along with fine jewelry, showing elegance and grace.

    To read about other dance forms like Bhathiali, Maand, and Kajari, please subscribe below.

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