Rajasthan- the land of royalty is a glittering jewel set in the golden sands of a barren deserts landscape. The light that reflects off the golden sands engulfs a land renowned for its vibrant colours, people in bright clothes and beautiful jewellery, living in cities dotted and dominated by towering forts and palace that rise from the sands like a mirage.
The brightness of its life, the legends of its heroism and romance are all captured in the vibrant and evocative music of this desert land. The richness and diversity of Rajasthani music come from its old and undisturbed tradition. Music which is rich evocative heroic plaintive and joyful governs all aspects of Rajasthani lives. The voices both male and female are strong and powerful. The numerous songs sang by the women reflect the various feminine moods and strong family ties that govern their lives.
Splendid monsoon of Rajasthan call for special songs without which no celebration is complete.
Men and women of Rajasthan sing devotional as well as festive songs. Songs by the saint-poets like Kabir, Meera and Malookdas are part of the folk repertoire. They are sung all night during the rutabagas (all night soirees spent singing devotional songs) which are held as thanksgiving to a particular deity. The resonant singing of the Rajasthani folk is accompanied by music from simple instruments like the Baara and Algoza, that usually give a beat or a drone to offset the poetry.
Fairs and festivals bring an even greater riot of colour and music into lives of these desert people. Holi the festival of colours, brings forth the joyous, lively rhythms of the change and dhamal songs Marriage, childbirth, the visit of the son-in-law, all call for song and music. Even children have their own special songs called the saanjhi and the Ghulda. Favorites that are sung at all times are the Panihari, Eendoni, the famous Kurjan Digipuri-ka-raja and the Rasiya songs of the Braj region.
The hard life of the desert dwellers made them seek means of making life more pleasant by developing their artistic talents. There are many traditional communities who are professional performers and their skills are handed down from generation to generation. The Bhat and Charans are bards, who could inspire the Rajput warriors with accounts of heroic deeds by whipping up patriotic flavor or even ridiculing the royal families with their satire.
The wandering balladeers, like the Bhopas who sing about the Marwar folk hero-Pabuji, travel from the village with their phad painting and rawan hattha entertaining people with their ballad. There are many singing communities in Rajasthan known as the Dholis.. Also known by other names like Mirasis, Dhadhis, L angas, Manganiyars, Kalbelias, Jogis, Sargaras, Kamads, Nayaks or Thotis and the Bawaris.
Today their music can be heard all over the state and is popular even on the national & international circuits. The best flavour of this rich artistic talent can be savoured during various fairs & festivals of the state, especially during the Desert Festivals (Jan-Feb), the Pushkar Fair (Oct-Nov), the Marwar Festival (Sept-Oct) and the Camel Festival (Jan-Feb).