Rajasthan Music and Dance
Rajasthan is culturally rich and has extensive
tradition in art and culture, which reflects Indian way life. The
dance, music and art forms have been watchfully cultivated and
patronised by the erstwhile courts. An equally rich and varied folk
culture from villages is both fascinating & mesmerising.
The uncomplicated innocent music and songs depict
day-to-day relationships and chores more often focusl around bring
of water. Rajasthan's cultural tapestry takes in simple folk to
highly cultivated classical music and dance in its own distinct
In the realm of the folkways dance and music rule supreme and one
cannot think of Rajasthan without this important element of its folk
life. A large variety of musical instruments is used in the
It ranges from the soft tinklers to thunderous kettledrums; from
simple, slender flutes to intriguing trumpets; and from the rustic
looking resonators for basic rhythm to elegant and fully developed
bowing or plucking devices.
The sight o the folk musicians of Rajasthan with their musical
instruments,is fascinating ,who besides dressing themselves in
colourful attire, also decorate and embellish their instruments with
beautiful trappings and ornamental coverings. They are a people with
music in their souls.
Their amazingly rich music has an extraordinary
individuality, tradition and exotic flavor, which gives a
distinctive feature and quality to their musical sounds, and a
certain pulse which does not fail to fascinate the listener, staying
like lingering perfume.
They have songs for every occasion with rich emotional content,
almost an endless variety of tunes, quite a few delightful dance
forms, and a large number of musical instruments, all a collective
creation of the folks which is retained by them in its traditional
form and character and passed from one generation to the other.
Each region has its own folk entertainment, the dance styles differ
as do the songs. Interestingly enough, even the musical instruments
Of considerable significance are the devotional songs and the
communities who render these songs. Professional performers like the
Bhaats, Dholis, Mirasis, Nats, Bhopas and Bhands are
omnipresent across the state. They are patronised by the villagers
who participate actively in the shows put up by these travelling
Some of the better known forms of
Ghoomar Dance : This is basically a
community dance for women and performed on. auspicious occasions.
ITis a very simple dance where the ladies move gently, gracefully in
Gair Ghoomar : This is one of the many
dance-forms of the Bhil tribals. Performed during Holi festival,
Gair : Another Holi dance but performed
only by men. This becomes Dandia Gair in Jodhpur and Geendad in
Chari Dance : This is popular in the
Kisherigarh region and involves dancing with a chari, or pot, on
ones head. A lighted lamp is then placed on the pot.
Kachhi Ghodi : This is a dance performed
on dummy horses. Men in elaborate costumes ride the equally well
decorated dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these dancers move
rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes. A singer narrates
the exploits of the Bavaria bandits of Shekhawati.
Fire Dance : The Jasnathis of Bikaner and
Chum are renowned for their tantric powers 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
Teerah Taali : The Kamad community of
Pokhran and Deedwana perform this dance in honour of theft deity,
Baba Ramdeo. A rather unusual performance where the men play a
four-stringed instrument called a chau-tara and the women sit with
dozens of manjeeras, or cymbals, tied on all over their bodies and
strike them with the ones they hold in their hands. Sometimes, the
women also hold a sword between their teeth or place pots with
lighted lamps on their heads.
Kathputli : Puppet plays based on popular
legends are performed by skilled puppeteers. Displaying his skill in
making the puppets act and dance, the puppeteer is accompanied by a
woman, usually his wife, who plays the dholak, or drum and sings the
Pabuji Ki Phach : A 14th century folk
hero, Pabuji is revered by the Bhopa community. The phad, or scroll,
which is about 10 metres long, highlights the life and heroic deed
of Pabuji. The Bhopas are invited by villagers to perform in their
areas during times of sickness and misfortune. The ballad is sung by
the Bhopa as he plays the Ravan-hattha and he is joined by his wife
who holds a lamp and illuminates the relevant portions at
Maand : Rajasthans most sophisticated
style of folk music and has come a long way from the time it was
only sung in royal courts, in praise of the Rajput rulers.
Professional singers still sing the haunting ballads of Moomal
Mahendra, Dhola-Maru and other legendary lovers and heroes.
List of singers and performers also includes the Mirasis and Jogis
of Mewat, Manganiyars and Langas, Kanjars, Banjaras and Dholies.
Performances like the Kuchamani Khayal, Maach, Tamasha, Rammat,
Nautanki and Raasleela are no less popular. The musical instruments
of Rajasthan are simple but quite unusual. Handcrafted by the
musicians themselves they are rather unique and include instruments
like the Morchang, Naad, Sarangi, Kamayacha, Rawanhattha, Algoza,
Khartal, Poongi, Bankia and Da There are dozens of other instruments
which are exclusive to Rajasthan only.
It is a rather difficult task to list all the different types of
music, dance and entertainment that can be found in Rajasthan. The
range is mindboggling.
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