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Glimpses of Rajasthani music

Folk Music (Audio CD)

Price : U.S $ 25.95


When the culture of a land is as rich as what Rajasthan boasts of then, perhaps a few paradigms of its musical heritage cannot be called anything other than mere glimpses of its pluri-dimensional character. Yet, each is such a unique manifestation in its own way that once engulfed in its depths one tends to forget that there are innumerable such compositions in the repertoire of this region and to completely traverse the panorama would be impossible. In this album there is a song that celebrates an instrument in informal folk lyrics and another one that calls out to the divine by way of Sufi poetry. The bride’s separation from her mother is sung of and so are the nuances of man-woman relationships. The Sindhi Sarangi and the Kamaycha accompany some renditions alongside the quintessential Dholak, Khartal and Manjeera.

a. Laal mori re 

The north western regions of the Indian subcontinent are replete with pockets that sing regional variations of Sufi Kalaams and the Sindhi community tracing its history to undivided India have accomplished singers who string Sufi spiritual poetry to the notes of the Sindhi Sarangi, Matka, Dholak, Khartal& Khanjari. This particular rendition is sung in praise of Jhulelal- who is a manifestation of the divine for the community.

b. Deego 

Initiated by the typical sharp notes of the snake-charmer’s Been this Kalbeliya rendition is both devotional and entertaining as it speaks of how a folk deity is unmatched in his exuberance. His blessings are asked for and a request made that the divinity should never let the devotee down. The Khanjari, Dholak & Manjeera are played as accompaniments.

c. Mehandi ro rang 

This celebratory Manganiyar wedding jangda performed during weddings, describes the glowing mehroon-red colour of Henna(Mehandi) on the palm of the bridegroom and romanticizes the various aspects of marriage. The color of the Mehandi has a significant position in Indian marriage customs due to notions of auspiciousness and good luck attached to it. Kamaycha’s distinct drone is recognized in the backdrop of the strains of harmonium, the beat of the Dholak and the clap of the Khartal. 

d. Aaj mahra kanuda 

The quaint, festal Algoza Mandali presents a melodious rendition expressing the concern of Lord Krishna’s mother who is worried that it is getting late in the day and her son is yet not home. The Algoza, Dholaki & Jhanjh ornament her account of the shepherds who have come home as evening has set in and there is no trace of Kanha. Her eyes ache to see him and she goes to his usual haunts to seek him out but to no avail. The song has a joyous tone as it brings out the naughty character of Lord Krishna and ends at a salutation to the almighty.

e. Lal peeli Ankhiya 

Performed by children, this Darbari from Jodhpur tells the tale of a wife who is not fearful of her husband's fury and angst. The Sarangi, Dholak, Khartal & Khanjari accompany the singing as is typical of Langa renditions. She implores that once love occurs the beloved shouldn’t inflict any pain of separation. Successive stanzas convey that even if he gets her jewelry from Bikaner or a stole from Jaipur she would not be convinced and his anger or the following appeasement would not bother her one bit. The track is especially endearing owing to children’s vocals which brings forth the historic tradition prevalent in these regions of inheriting the culture of music and the practice of it from a very early age.

f. Bai chaliya ji 

ThisMirasi ghazal of separation is sung during weddings to the beats of Sarangi, Harmonium, Tabla, Dholak and Khanjari and representsone of the incredible aspects of Indian marriage customs and traditions. The song is sung when the bride is on her way to her new home with her husband and is leaving her parents behind. The usual metaphor of the shade and comfort of the Peepal tree during her growing years is expressed in the lyrics and she is wished well for the uncertainties of the life ahead.

g. Boya zara zara so

This song sung to provide the music for a Chakri Nritya performance is festive in its beats as the Nagadi is played furiously along with the Dholak and the Manjeera. The group singing and incessant clapping add the flavor of informality and shared joy of a community to this Kanjar rendition.

h. Dhol 

The Maand is a festal genre and renditions are sung during carnivals held in various palaces and forts all across Rajasthan to celebrate the fervor of fairs and festivals. The beats of the Dhol and the notes from a Thali provide the perfect music to complement the feelings of joy that run amok on these occasions. Dhol is a quintessential presence at any celebration whatsoever and in an unparalleled manner it uplifts the spirits and spreads bonhomie. 

i. Bhapang kahan se aayo 

A humoristic enquiry into the origins of an indigenous musical instrument called Bhapang, this Mevati folksong is performed during fairs and festivals of Alwar in Rajasthan. The lines manifest the intent that: ‘everyone talks about the Bhapang and we hold it every now and then but from where did it descend into this world? Its notes are similar to the way in which Shivji’s Damru is played and a wire has been extended across the middle of it and there is a stretched membrane at the back. It is played in the temples and sounds like the ‘dum dum’ of a drum and is indeed an awe-inspiring instrument’.

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