Unheard Rajasthani Music

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Rajasthan offers a melange of cultures, music and people. The album ‘Unheard Rajasthan’ is an effort to bring to the fore the sub-nation’s forgotten corners. The only common element that combines these corners is a heart that beats only to the rhythms of regional authentic songs.

Various cultural groups of Rajasthan in their own but multi-talented way create an atmosphere that smells of the sand of the desert.  The cultural groups such as Nayak, Meghwal, Manganiar, Langa, Meerasi, Brahmin, Khati, Jat, Harijan etc., are some of the communities whose distinctive music styles are rarely heard or exposed to the outside world. ‘Unheard Rajasthan’ is an attempt to capture the beauty of these cultures dipped in rural sensibility and bring the rare music genres such as Jangad, Chang Nritya, Pad, Bhajans etc. back into the cultural positioning of the country.

Traditionally, patronage has guided the music of this region that incorporates the sounds of folk instruments like Deru, Sarangi, Kamaycha, Tandoora, Chang, Bansuri, Chimta, Rawanhatta, Harmonium, Dholak, Khartal, Ghungroo and Manjeera amongst others.

This album is an effort to enrapture its listeners with melodies, rhythms capturing various human moods like devotional, festive, occupational and philosophical.

(Liner Notes)

Unheard Rajasthan

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Unheard Rajasthan back

Track Listing:

01 Dhomaldi

02Moomal

03 Nabh Kamal Vich

04 Bilyu Dhaam

05 Rasto De Shyam

06 Bagan Ka Bhawara

07 Helo Mharo Sambhlo

08 Jeera

URaj

Desert Pure: Unheard Rajasthan

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A very appropriately title album is the focus for this post: Unheard Rajasthan. Pure folk music from the dusty and gritty bye lanes of India’s desert western State of Rajasthan.

 

This is rarely heard music. Most of it is sung a capella except for the rhythm section, you have to travel a bit off the beaten tourist trails to find this music performed in its intended setting.

Unheard Rajasthan Unheard Rajasthan_0001

Track Listing:

  1. Bagan Ka Bhawara This pad or folktale is sung by the Meena tribe that narrates the act of the Bhanwra or the honeybee that sucks pollens from flowers and how this act causes better half to flare up in ire. The authentic instruments used in this track are Chhota Dhol and Chimta.
  2. Bilyu Dhaam This devotional song is performed by Meerasi community in praise of Gogaji, inviting the devotees to assemble at the fair that is held at the Bilyu Dham, a village in Northern Rajasthan. The folk instruments used as an accompaniment are Deru, Ghunghroo, Harmonium, Dholak and Manjeera.
  3. Dhomaldi Tracing it’s root to ‘Jangad’, a form of singing style, it is a welcome song sung by the Manganiar community on the occasion of the arrival of the procession of King and Queen. The instruments used as an accompaniment are Kamaycha, Dholak and Khartal.
  4. Helo Mharo Sambhlo A devotee prays to ‘Gogaji’ a local deity in Rajasthan pleading Him to listen to his vows and take care of him. The Bhajan is rendered by the Manganiar Meghwal community to the accompaniment of the Manjeera, Tandoora and Dholak.
  5. Jeera The spice that best describes the particular taste and flavor of Rajasthani food is Jeera that is actually a cumin seed. With an accompaniment of ‘Rawanhatta’ a woodwind instrument, the Bhopa and Bhopi get together in this folk song to describe the advantages and disadvantages of this distinct spice.
  6. Moomal A court or palace song, performed by the Manganiar professional singers and played on the Sarangi, Khartal and Dholak expresses the beauty of a pretty woman.
  7. Nabh Kamal Vich A Bhajan sung by the Meerasi group, signifies that true happiness can only be achieved when a man understand his inner being. The traditional instruments like Tandoora, Khanjeera and Dholak has been used to convey this message more strongly.
  8. Rasto De Shyam Chang Nritya’, a dance form that integrates the sounds of Chang, Bansuri, Ghunghroo, and Manjeera. This song is shared as a common culture by the Khati, Meghwal, Harijan, Rajput, Jat and Brahmin communities and is sung during the festival of Holi in Rajasthan. The song captures Radha and lord Krishna’s love story and the antics involved when she requests him to move from her path and let her go to fetch water

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Exhilaration: Musafir

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Long time fans of this blog (as well as the old version of Washerman’s Dog) will recall that in November 2012 I had the privilege of facilitating the performance of Bachu Khan at a major international music expo here in Melbourne.  During the course of the several days that we hung out together I discovered that Bachu had spent some time in the iconic Rajasthani music group, Musafir.

 

Musafir, was in the late 90s and early part of the new millennium, a globe-trotting collective of gypsy musicians from western India led by Barkat and Hameed Khan, both of whom were Bachu’s elder relatives.  By travelling the world and performing with other international artists, he developed not only a love of travel but a sophisticated understanding of how the traditional music of Rajasthan could be blended with other styles.

 

Sadly, as happens all too often, ‘management’ issues led to the demise of Musafir and their exciting, exhilarating brand of Indian folk music.  But thankfully, as happens not often enough, Bachu Khan’s international career has been revived and we are hoping to welcome him back to Australia later this year.

 

In the meantime, we share Musafir’s second album from 2002 titled Barsaat. It is a killer, full of the powerful voices of Bachu and his relatives as well as enticing appearances by Natacha Atlas and a clarinet!

 

Zindabad!

Barsaat

Track Listing:

01 Yad

02 Balamji

03 Khet

04 Pyar Ki Boond

05 Banna

06 Ali Mullah (Feat. Transglobal Underground And Natacha Atlas)

07 Karvan

08 Barish

09 Loneliness

10 Balu

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