Update Yourself with the Music of Rajasthan
Dancing to the beats of international artists, we enjoy a lot. And why not! The beats are electric and so energetic that it compels us to dance and we get carried away. I am sure everyone reading this would agree with my opinion. But sometimes, we need a more subtle music which is away from the hustle and takes us back to our roots, takes us back to the very foundation- that ties us to our birthplace. In the same way, a lot of people prefer listening to folk music, whether they belong to any place; they crave for raw voices, ‘desi’ instruments, and vernacular dances and music.
Everyone has a different taste in music, but when it comes to folk music- we enjoy it hands down.
The music of Langa and Manganiyar of Rajasthan
Who are Langa and Manganiyar?
Langa and Manganiyar are folk musicians who follow a rich oral tradition which they have inherited from their forefathers. These balladeers from Rajasthan sing of everyday chores and emotions. They become highly relatable and probably that is the reason why they are able to mesmerize their listeners.
Manganiyars have expertise over percussion instruments like Dholak and Khadtal, whereas Langas are known for Sarangi, Murali, Surnai, etc. Their musical compositions are masterpieces and are quite complex. The word Manganiyar means those who ask for charity. On different occasions, they would go to patron’s house and sing songs and in turn, would be awarded.
If you go through the roots of these musical groups then we come to know that these Langas and Manganiars were groups of professional musicians, whose music was supported by wealthy landlords and aristocrats. This tradition and hierarchy are maintained till now. Both the groups sing in the same language but their styles differ. This difference of style came into existence as per the tastes of their patrons. Both the communities belong to the Islamic origins but many of their songs are in praise of Hindu deities. Similarly, they are known to celebrate Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Holi. The Manganiar performers evoke the Hindu God Krishna and seek his blessings before the commencement of their music recital.
It is also believed that the Manganiars were musicians of the Rajput courts. They used to accompany their chiefs to war and providing them with entertainment before and after the battles. In addition to this, these singers and musicians also performed at the event of the chiefs’ death and would perform at the ruler’s vigil day and night until the mourning was over.
Coming to the second music community of Rajasthan, the Langas which literally means a song giver is a group of poets, singers, and musicians from the Barmer district of Rajasthan. The Langas are versatile players of the Sindhi Sarangi and the Algoza (double flute), which accompany their magical voices. They used to perform at events like births, and weddings, exclusively for their patrons, who were cattle breeders, farmers, and landowners.
Today, these musical groups perform in various realms and acquire major acclamations not just in the country but also internationally. Rajasthan hosts one of the most energetic and redolent music cultures of the world. The land of sand dunes and camels imparts the fragrance of vernacular music and folklores that touches the hearts of many. These musicians have such an impact on the listeners that they are bound to listen to them again and again.
In Udaipur, you can find these musicians in Shilpgram during the annual Shilpgram Festival quite commonly.
It’s said that music transcends time and space, and indeed it holds true in the case of these folk musicians.
Such is the music of Rajasthan!
If you have ever listened to any Langa or Manganiyar, do let us know your experience in the comment section below.