Recorded in the oldest of the mythological pages, Indian folk music has its existence since the Vedic culture. Folk songs have been used extensively for recreational purposes and to celebrate special events including marriage ceremonies, birth of a child, festivals, socio-religious reforms, etc. Especially, rural India counts on to such traditional ecstasy through customary ways of narrating stories via folk songs and music. Even folk songs sung by other religious leaders gave identity to the villages they originally came from and gradually, these songs are cherished and celebrated by the people of their respective areas as their own. Folk music is heavily accompanied by different Indian musical instruments veena, dotar, bansuri, ektara, harmonium, sarod, sitar, tambura, tar sehnai, and many more. The list is too short to mention the incredibility of India in one go.
Talking about the oldest folk music from the enriched cultural diversity of our motherland here, is the list of five such tremendously antique musical paragons.
- PANDAVANI – Popular in Central India, believed to be as old as the Hindu epic Mahabharata. This centuries-old musical form is still kept alive by performers like Jhaduram Devangan, Usha Barle, Teejan Bai. This incredible claim is backed by the fact that the subject matter of Pandavani deals with the heroics of Bhima, a prominent persona from Mahabharata. ‘Tambura’ is largely played in it and even used as a prop to explain different characters from Mahabharata. Other musical instruments used are manjira, harmonium, dholak and tabla.
- BHATIALI – Popularly known as the “river song”, it was sung by fishermen and oarsmen of Bangladesh and West Bengal to keep themselves entertained when they did not have to row their boats with all their might. It has religious musical lures as well as ethnic keynotes such as hamd, naat, shreekrishna kirta, gombhira, dhamail, baul, bhawaiya, sari gan, etc.
- UTTARAKHANDI FOLK– It is often performed during festivals and religious gatherings in the state of Uttarakhand. The songs specifically convey the notability of nature, bravery of historical characters, stories and important cultural practices of the state. Musical instruments used are masak baja, daur, thali, ransingha, damoun, dholki, dhol, bhankora, harmonium and tabla.
- NAATUPURA PAADALGAL – Although being an extremely ancient musical form of Tamil Nadu, it is fast disappearing in the state due to the prominence given to Carnatic music. It was also used by the aboriginal people during the farming and harvesting season. The magnificence of this folk music was eminently stated by musician maestro Ilaiyaraaja.
- BHAVAGEETE – Originating from the land of Karnataka, it literally means music of expression and henceforth, the singer’s expressions comprise the most important aspect of this form of music. The subject matter in these folk pieces deals with nature, love, philosophy, etc. Contemporary musicians and singers have revived it by incorporating the poems written by eminent Kannada writers and poets.
Celebrate the Indian music to its par excellence! It is divine. It is the purest form of dedication acquiescence.