Folksongs of Madhya Pradesh
The history of a country is told in its popular songs. Madhya Pradesh offers a real feast to the aficionados of traditional music. Folk songs narrate stories of sacrifice, duty, love and chivalry using characteristic style of singing. The folklore of DholaMaru, originally from Rajasthan, is popular in Malwa, Nimar and Bundelkhand region and people belonging to these regions sing about DholaMaru’s love, separation and reunion in their own distinct folk style.
It is not at all unusual to see women folk singing practically on every ceremonial occasion and even on death in the Nimar region of Madhya Pradesh.
Beats of Chang and Dhaf whip up the competitive fervour of the kalgiturra form of folk singing, popular in Mandla, Malwa, Bundelkhand and Nimar regions. The songs are composed with accounts ranging from the Mahabharata and the Puranas to the current affairs and the opposing parties sing all through the night to outsmart each other. This traditional form of singing has its origin dating back to the reign of the Chanderi King Shishupal. Songs composed by saints like Singaji, Kabir, Meera, Dadu are part of the folk repertoire of Nimar region popularly known as the Nirguni style of singing. The singing is usually accompanied with an Ektara and a Khartaal (a music instrument with small metal jinglers attached to wooden planks). The other very popular form of folk singing in Nimar, Phag which is sung with the accompaniment of Dhaf and Chang during the festive season of Holi. These songs have a very strong romantic fervour.
The Navratri festival celebrated in Nimar with the performance of popular folk dance, Garba accompanied by Garba songs devoted to goddess Shakti. Garba form is traditionally performed by men and is an integral part of the Nimari folk dance and drama. The singing is accompanied with amridang (a form of drum). Gavlan are the songs sung during Raslila. The most popular form of singing among the Nath community of the Malwa region is a recitation of Bhartrihari folk lore. The hymns composed by the noble king Bhartrihari and saints like Kabir, Meera, Gorakh and Gopichand are accompanied by the musical instrument locally called Chinkara (a form of sarangi with string made of horse hair, main body made of bamboo and the bow made from a coconut shell). It emits a unique sound.
Songs sung by the young girls in group, of the Malwa region, Sanjha is a traditional melodious and haunting form of folk music. An idol of Sanja made from cowdung and decorated with leafs and flowers are worshipped by the girls during the evening hours along with singing of sanja songs to invoke prosperity and happiness.
On the 18th day, the festivities culminate with bidding farewell to their companion sanja. As the monsoon rains have quenched the thirsty earth, swings are sprouted from the trees and it is a treat to hear Hid songs of Malwa region. Singing of Hid is marked by full throated voice of the artist and a classical style of aalap. The form of singing common to Malwa region during monsoon season is BarsatiBarta. Bundelkhand region is the land of warriors. The Alhait community of Bundelkhand had composed songs to inspire the warriors with accounts of heroic deeds of AlahUdul. The tales of heroism, honour, valour and chivalry of AlahUdul as demonstrated in the 52 wars fought by him are traditionally sung during the period of rainy season by people of this region. The music instruments that accompany are dholak (a small version of the drum played on both sides with hands) and nagara (consists of two drums made of metal iron, copper, with the open face of the hollow pots spread with buffalo skin which is traditionally beaten with wooden sticks).
There are songs that relate to festivities on Holi, Thakur, Isuri and RaiPhag. Dewari form of songs accompanied to the tunes of dholak, nagara and flute is sung on the occasion of festival of Diwali. Bumbulia songs are rendered on the festival occasions of Shrivaratri, BasantPanchmi and MakarSankranti. The style of singing folk songs of the Baghelkhand region is distinct from other regions of Madhya Pradesh. The voices of both the male and the female are strong and powerful. There is a marked richness and diversity in songs and this also reflects the unique culture and heritage of the region. The theme of the songs is quite diverse and is created around various subjects.
Basdeva is a traditional community of singers based in the Baghelkhand region, who sing about the legendary son Sharavan Kumar using a sarangi and chutkipaijan. They are identified by their yellow wardrobe and carry an idol of Lord Krishna on their head. Songs are rendered by a pair of singers. Compositions from the Ramayan and the tales of K arna, Moradhwaj, Gopchand, Bhartrihari, Bhole baba are the other common subjects of Basdeva songs. Birha and Bidesiya are two other important styles of singing that capture the mood of singers in Baghelkhand. Bidesiya songs relate to the theme of love, separation and reunion with the beloved. The Bidesiya song implores the loved one to return early. Phag songs sung during the festival season of Holi express the abundance of spring season and expression of inter personal relationships. Beats of nagara whip up the charged spirits of the group of singers.
Madhya Pradesh is a state of India. Music from the area includes rural folk and tribal music, ceremonial and ritual music and Indian classical music. Unlike in many parts of India, the people of Madhya Pradesh place few restrictions on who can sing which songs. With the exception of some ritualistic works, people sing songs from across ethnic and racial boundaries.
In Bastar, the Muria and Sing Maria tribes are known for the songs called relo, which are sung by children. The same region is home to the dhankul songs associated with invoking Danteshwari, a goddess, and the seasonal chaitparah. Around Jagdalpur, leha songs are popular. They are sung as part of a ritual for the departure of a loved one. The Kamar people are known for a kind of marriage song, often addressed to legendary trumpeter Moharia.
Bundelkhand and Baghelkand, home of the Baghelas, are a land known for semi-historical songs devoted to Hardaul and other deities. Many songs in this area were written by the poet Isuri. Pai songs are sung, accompanied by the saira dance, during the rainy season.
In the south of Nimad, philosophical nirgunilavani and ertocishringarilavani songs are popular. The same area, as well as Malwa, are inhabited by the musically inclined Adivasi people.
Various kinds of drums are found throughout Madhya Pradesh. These include the large drums of Bastar, the dhols and mandal[disambiguation needed]s played by the Bhils, the Muriaparang and the ghera, damahu, timki, tasa, chang and dphala.
The bans is an instrument unique to Madhya Pradesh, though it is similar to the ayarkuzhal of the south. It is an aerophonic instrument about four feet in length, made of bamboo, and played by the Rawats.
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