Songs of the Monsoon

Rain-in-South-India5

This year, the Indian Met office predicts, the monsoon will be better than usual.  For a country that is so dependent on small hold agriculture for survival this is great news.  Not only will bullocks and buffalo and goats be happy, but their owners and those who till the fields of wheat, rice, barley, sugar cane and mustard will be too.

The annual cycle of rain is so important to the Indian psyche that whole genres of art have developed around celebrating this time of year. A time of expectation and love and relief. As Spring is to the European mind so is barsaat (rainy season) to the Indian.  Indian eros blossoms under the heavy skies. Indian children find their greatest joy dancing in the rushing streams and overflowing canals.

Today we share a collection of folk songs that are traditionally sung in the lead up to and in the days and early weeks after the arrival of the rains.  This type of song is known as kajri.  The name seems to be linked to another Hindi word, kajal  or khol, the black paste that is applied around the eyes.  It’s heavy, jet black appearance represents the dark water laden clouds of the season.

Kajri is a tradition of the northern Gangetic plain, especially around the towns of Allahabad, Varanasi and Mirzapur.  Indeed, it is that city that is considered the center of the kajri tradition.

These songs are true folk. The singers unsophisticated, the instruments basic. But their joy is infectious.  Hope you enjoy them! And the rain, when it reaches your part of the world.

Beat Of India - Kajri

Track Listing:

01 Ras Dhire Dhire

02 Radha Kanha Se

03 Hamke Sawan Mein

04 Jabe Nehre Sajana

05 Rimjhim Barse Re

06 Kashi Bhole Ki Nagariya

07 Rimjhim Barse Badra

08 Kaune Rang Mungva

09 Basiya Baaj Rahi

10 Sawan Mein Hamar

11 Charon Khoot Ghumar

Kajri

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