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Chammak Chhalo

Folk Music (Audio CD)

Price : U.S $ 18.95


Chhammak Chhallo is a collection of songs of exuberance and frolic which are immensely popular in the Rajasthani society. They are performed during numerous festivities, fairs and other cultural festivals to express humor, amorous overtures and daily neighborhood banter. The words used vary from the outrightly bold local slang to English terms such as ‘beer’ and ‘coffee’ and there are references of urban areas such as Jaipur and Bikaner from where clothing and other supplies could be bought.  Played all too frequently to the extent of being unfortunately ravaged by innumerable attempts made at altering lyrics or remixing the track, these songs have steadfastly maintained their old-world charm. 

a. Tange Wala Chora 

Artists from Bikaner, accompanied by the notes of the Harmonium, Khanjari and Dholak create a beautiful, picturesque rural setting in singing of a woman addressing a request to a boy riding a horse cart (tonga). The girl says: ‘I told the boy on the tonga to stop the cart for a moment, I cried holding his hand and said to him that I wish to come with you’.  As is typical of folk music, the song changes the theme and the next stanza speaks of how the woman fell ill after eating stale bread and vegetables and a spoilt milk dessert. She cried profusely but no one came asking after her during the night. In the morning her sister-in-laws enquired of her as to why she cried at night. She said she was given torn bedding and almost died of cold!

b. Rupiya 

Kalbeliya artists perform this playful song to vividly illustrate the story of a woman on the way to the market for purchasing sweets, jewelry and alcohol along with a variety of other things with money. The Been, Dafli and the Chang get together to lend a tune to every item that she purchases and add to the frolic of the affair.

c. Jamana Badal Gaya 

A Marwari folk song from Bikaner, intrinsic to the Mirasi culture speaks of the changes that come into play with the passing of time. In the olden times coins of silver were the currency but now paper money is in vogue. Also, then the social order was of the type where the daughter-in-law used to be afraid of the mother-in-law but now the positions are reversed. Similarly the daughter-in-law is no longer afraid of the father-in-law, the brother-in-law or the elder sister-in-law. This song is a paradigm of a common feature of Rajasthani folk songs where the opening stanza sets a theme and a word-pattern and then in the successive lines only a couple of words are changed- in this case the different members of the house- to convey the meanings.

d. Jija Pan Khila De 

The simplistic fun and frolic song from Bikaner is sung by a girl who jokes with her brother-in-law and asks him to entertain her. The Harmonium, Dholak & Khanjari complement the trajectory of the conversation that has a mischievous bent. “I am your younger sister-in-law, please treat me to a paan (betel leaf). My lips will turn red eating the paan.” She then goes on to use words for herself that are affectionately employed for someone who is less in age, innocent and cute. The following lines express her wish that he buy her a dress, sandals from Jaipur, treats her to coffee and chai and finally implores him to get her a sari and blouse and these too from Jaipur.

e. Kalyo Kood Padyo Mela 

If there were a synonym to the phrase ‘Rajasthani folk song’ it would certainly be ‘kalyo kud padyo mela maan’ (a young boy named kalyo jumped into the fray of a fair). Sung differently by each voice that chooses to croon it the lines that follow speak of a punctured cycled, delay in sending a woman to her in-laws as she is busy threshing bajra (millet), the promise of a man to buy his love a red blouse with floral print etc.- all punctuated by the defining, cathartic cry of the song- ‘arrrrra raaara rrra’. Sung here to the accompaniment of the Been, Dafli and Chang lines speak of kalyo who went into the fair, jumped into the fray and got a black stick and then performed acrobatic tricks with it. Another one sings of how he fed his love red, plump tomatoes in an ongoing vehicle!

f. Haath Wali Beeti 

This impromptu song is a festal celebration put to words by a young man who is expressing his love for his woman. He is heard telling his elders that they should save up the ring on the fingers and the chain around their throats as he has found the girl he loves and would soon be marrying her. Successive lines speak of his overtures toward the woman in requesting her to come with him to the village fair and the movies. He suggests that they should go to the capital city of Jaipur and he would treat her to Kachori (deep fried snack with spiced lentil filling) and Samosa (deep fried snack with spiced, boiled potatoes inside).

g. Rumal 

Rumal (Handkerchief) is a song the tune of which is more emotive and meaningful than its lyrics. It is one of the most frequently heard pieces of music in the rural environs of Rajasthan. The women sing of a yellow handkerchief and request a man to take the same to the sister-in-law.

h. Le Rupiya main Bajara Mein chali 

This Marwari folk song is crooned on a playful note and vividly illustrates the story of a woman visiting the market with some money to buy sweets, jewelry and alcohol along with an assortment of other things. The song is indigenous to the Bhopa Bhopi cultural group and they make a regular marketplace come alive in their colorful rendition. The strains of the stick fiddle Rawanhatta add a novel dimension to the simple Rajasthani folk genre.

i. Goli Ladoon Banri 

A husband cajoles and pampers his wife with affectionate, flirtatious addressals and offers medicine to her sick self hoping to help her recover and to cheer her up. The folk tune uses the Harmonium, the Dholak and Khanjari to capture the commonplace occurrence of marital life in the beginning and then goes on to acquire a note of fun as he offers to get her a skirt with lots of flair paired with a red blouse, a lehria ensemble from Jaipur, ankle bells from Bikaner and ladoos (sweets) and kachoris (snacks). He finally says that if she has a headache he could get beer for her to make her feel better!

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