Samvardhan Trust

Indian Folk Songs & Music

In India Folk music is defined as the music of the people. It is mainly characterised by simple beautiful melodies and rhythms that generally are concerned with the themes of nature, love, familial relations and religious and cultural festivities and customs.


The rustic and folk culture beauty is depicted by the songs. Folk music generally responds to the cycles of life and death, of day and night, and of the seasons. General participation is high in folk music, so the concept of the audience as a separate identity is not emphasised.


It is very common to find use of instruments in folk music that are made from commonly available materials like animal skin, bamboo, coconut shells and pots.


Indian folk music marked for its variety because of the rich cultural diversity of the country. Most folk music is mainly dance-oriented and is sung, or the instruments played, during festivals and dance performances by the common people.


The folk music primarily is related to the festivals, religious traditions, folk stories and simple life of the people. Musical instruments used include the dhol, damoun, turn, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora and masakbhaja.


In North India, folk music of Kashmir includes sufi songs, ghazals and choral music. In Uttarakhand folk music has for its theme subjects related to nature. The songs are sung in Kumaoni and Garhwali.


However when we talk about the Folk songs of Madhya Pradesh


It mainly is include Aalha, ‘a heroic ballad’ sung in various dialects: Bundelkhandi, Baiswari, Brij, Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Another culture is Pai songs which are associated with Saira dance. They are sung during festivals, especially in the rainy season. The songs plead for a good monsoon and a good harvest.


Naatupura Paatu is Tamil folk music. It consists of Gramathisai (village folk music) and Gana (city folk music).


The folk songs of Assam include the Zikir that embody the teaching of Islam and the Zari based on the tragic episodes at Karbala. There are other songs like Bihu geet, Husari, Bihuna, Borgeet, Nisukotii geet and Gorokhiya Naam.


The folk songs of Arunachal Pradesh include the Ja-jin- ja, sung during marriages and other social occasions, that celebrates the history and ancestors of the people; Baryi, a narrative song on the history, religious lore and mythology of the people that takes hours to complete; and Nyioga, sung at the end of marriage ceremonies.


In Manipur, the Khongjom Parva includes musical narration of the Battle of Khongjom fought between the British and the Manipuris in April 1891. The songs praise the Manipuri soldiers who laid down their lives for their motherland. The singers use only the dholak while singing. In modern times, the songs have other subjects as well: themes from the Hindu epics and the exploits of kings of Manipur.


The folk songs of Nagaland include the Heliamleu or dancing song, Hereileu or war songs, Neuleu or legendary songs and Hekaileu or songs about self.