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 music is of uncomplicated innocence and songs depict day-to-day relationships and chores more often focal around bring of water. Rajasthan's cultural tapestry takes in simple folk to highly cultivated classical music and dance in its own distinct style.
Music sung by women is mostly about water and the style is called panihari. It depicts daily chores and is cantered around the well. In arid area like Rajasthan water is of immense significance. Some of the folk songs also talk about chance encounter with their lover. Some even have snipes at the incorrigible mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Music here, also has strong religious flavour and is sung in dedication to various deities. Some religious songs are folk idioms of Saints, Surdas, Kabirdas, Meerabai and others. These songs are mostly heard in nightlong soirées.
The accompanying instruments are of various varieties to repercussion, string and wind and even common use utilities like bells, thali (metal dishes) and earthen pots.
Music traditions are kept alive by entertainer like the Langas, Manganniyars, Mirasis and Dholis. The education in music of these groups began early and passed down from generation to generation. The folk musicians are apt in classical tradition. Songs normally began with an alap, which set the tune of the song and then recital of the couplet that is called the dooba. The songs also have the taan, the pitch and the tibias -the triplet, which lends variance to the tune.
Ballad traditions of Rajasthan are also of great attention. Here bards sing heroic tales of folk heroes like Tejaji, Gogaji and Ramdeoji. They sing and narrate heroic tales of battles and even of legendary lovers and their tragedies. To distinctive category in this tradition are the 'Phad' and the puppetry.
Dance The Thar Desert of Rajasthan comes alive when its dancers take the center stage. Rajasthan has great variety of dances, which are simple expressions of celebration and festivity. The dancers, the dances and costumes have made Thar the most colorful desert in the world. Each region adding its own form of dance styles and performers. There are dances that follows a lineage of age old traditions, adhere to religious significance, display their daring attitude as well as complimenting various fairs and festivals.
Ghoomar, a community dance for women performed on auspicious occasions. Gair Ghoomar, Raika, Jhoria and Gauri are particularly of Bhil tribe. Gair is performed on Holi but only by the men folk. Chari dance, with pots on the head and a lighted lamp, is popularly performed on marriage occasions or on the birth of a male child. Kalbelia dance is of the kalbelia tribe, the snake charmers. With numerous pots on the head, women excel the balancing act in the Matka-bhawai. Terah taali, is a ritual for Baba Ramdev, a dance with thirteen manjiras. Other dances are Kachhi-Ghodi, Kathputli (the puppet dance), Fire dance, drum dance and various others pertaining to the particular tribes. Kathhak, a popular dance form being imported from Uttar Pradesh have been revived by the rajputana courts, with a style and theme of its own.
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