Jharkhand music is largely tribal in nature. It shares many points of commonality with the folk music of Bihar and the music of the neighboring districts of West Bengal with a wide tribal populace like Purulia and Bankura. Like most forms of tribal art, most of the music of Jharkhand is not merely entertainment, although that aspect always remains there, but have great ritualistic and social significance to it. Songs and dances both go hand in hand in Jharkhand musical art.
Jharkhand Tribal Music
Tribal music plays a very important role in the overall scenario of the music at Jharkhand. Some of the major forms of tribal songs from Jharkhand are:
- Janani Jhumar
- Mardana Jhumar
- Akhariya Domkach
Dances also feature prominently in Jharkhand musical art. Some of the major forms of dances in Jharkhand are:
The forms of tribal music in Jharkhand are absolutely indigenous and have continued in the same way for time immemorial. The musical instruments, the dancing steps, the vocal inflections all have their unique flavors. However it should be remembered that most of Jharkhand musical performances are group performances, since solo performances are virtually unknown within the tribal musical aesthetics.
Social Significance of Jharkhand Music
Jharkhand music does not always necessarily play the role that is purely entertainment. More often than not, they have some ritualistic and social significance attached to them. Sometime they commemorate some tribal incidence of tribal significance and sometime they provide social commentary. In fact, music has often acted as the voice of protest against oppression and has worked as important political tools. However, more often the themes are religious and draw from the mythological canon of tales and stories as subjects of representation.
Dance and songs form the core of tribal festivities. Drums summon people to the 'Akhara; a circular of stamped earth reserved for dancing as well as village meeting. The main drums are 'Nagara' of'Mundas' & 'Oraons' and 'Tamak' of'Santhals', crafted out of iron sheets, conical at bottom. Its wide mouth is covered with buffalo hide sounded with a pain of sticks.
The'Mandar' or'Tumdak: a clay drum ends covered with goat skin; and the 'Dholki' made from a hollowed out length of wood usually of the Jackfruit tree.
Also made are string instruments, 'Saranga' and the Pumpkin Gourd Banjo, horns and clarinets, Bher and Shahnai, the flute, the Jhanjh, a pair of Cymbals, the Dafli, covered with skin & the dhak, and played by 'Ghasi'.
The popular musical instruments of the state including the sarangi, the bansuri, the singa and the arbansi are used commonly to musically enrich the folk songs of the state.
Sarangi : The Jharkhand sarangi is one of the most well known musical instruments in the eastern state of Jharkhand in India. The sarangi of Jharkhand is often used for producing the background music for various forms of folk songs, which are widely sung by the people belonging to various tribal communities in the state.
The musical instrument of sarangi has a bent appearance. The instrument consists of three major parts. These three parts are the main body of the sarangi, the strings and the soundboard. The sarangi in Jharkhand has three basic strings and a number of additional strings. The additional strings of the Jharkhand sarangi vary between 20 and 30. The three main strings are heavier than the rest of the strings. These strings are the ones that are to be bent while playing the instrument. The remaining strings help to produce the sound identical to this particular musical instrument.
The name of the instrument sarangi is commonly believed to mean 'hundred different colors'. The name not only suggests the wide range of tunes that can be produced on the instrument, but also the variety of schools of music that can be easily accommodated on this instrument.
Bansuri: Jharkhand bansuri is one of the most important musical instruments that are used commonly in the state of Jharkhand in India. The bansuri of Jharkhand is one of the many musical instruments that are played as the background music to a variety of folk songs, which are very popular amongst the people of the tribal groups in Jharkhand.
The bansuri in Jharkhand has five major parts. These five parts are the mukha randhra, the dandi, the garbha randhra, the swar randhra and the rassi. The mukha randhra is the hole through which the player blows. The dandi is the bansuri's body.
The garbha randhra is the bansuri's opening point. The swar randhra are the six or seven holes that are meant to be touched with fingers. The rassi is used to bind up the body of the bansuri.
There are generally six holes in the bansuri at Jharkhand. Nowadays, the bansari has an extra hole. This extra hole helps the bansuri-player to achieve a greater accuracy of tune. It also makes it easier for the player to produce a particular note by the bansuri, particularly a high-pitched one.
From ancient times, the musical instrument of bansuri has had very close associations with the folk music of the Indian subcontinent. The Jharkhand bansuri is carrying forward the lineage of use of bansuri in folk songs.
Singa is a wind instrument of Jharkhand which is played in pairs in different ceremonies and occasions like weddings and other festivals.
The music of Jharkhand includes a multiple of popular folk songs, dances and other instrumental music. All these forms of music are played on different occasions which undoubtedly add a different flavor to those ceremonies. Among these instruments, the Jharkhand musical instrument Singa is mainly played on wedding ceremonies which with the passage of time has become a tradition of the folk culture of Jharkhand.
This culturally rich state witnesses a large number of festivals and occasions throughout the year. Their folk literature is decorated with a variety of music and instruments. If art and culture is an integral part of the heritage of Jharkhand, then Jharkhand wind instrument Singa is a major musical instrument of it.
Singa of Jharkhand is a folk instrument made of brass. This special instrument is similar to the shape of 'S' and is mainly played on the occasions like wedding and other special programs. This wind instrument is played by blowing at one end with the mouth to form sound at the conic opening of the other end. Most of the people of Jharkhand are well introduced to the music of Singa.