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Indian Art & Culture - Music
                                                                                                    October 15, 2017


  • Panchavadyam literally meaning an orchestra of five instruments, is a temple art form that has evolved in Kerala.
  • Of the five instruments, four — timila, maddalam, ilathalam and idakka —belong to the percussion category, while the fifth,kombu, is a wind instrument.
  • Panchavadyam is characterized by a pyramid-like rhythmic structure with a constantly increasing tempo coupled with a proportional decrease in the number of beats in cycles.
  • Panchavadyam is not related very closely to any temple ritual and permits a lot of personal improvisation.

  • Jogis are traditional singers of Haryana who reflect many aspects of its folklore and culture.
  • They perform rich ballads, devotional songs, stories poems and even healing to some extent.
  • Their art is dying out and on the verge of extinction.
  • They perform with instrument called Beens which is also used by traditional snake charmers.
  • The performers normally wear saffron attires resembling those of saints or yogis. 

  • Manganiyar is a small tribal community living in rural areas of western Rajasthan, mainly in three districts i.e. Jodhpur, Badmer and Jaisalmer. 
  • Their songs are passed on from generation to generation as a form of oral history of the desert.
  • The special bowed instrument Kamaicha, played by the community is made of local material and looks as if a rudimentary one, but the musical patterns presented on it are very complex.
  • Apart from main playing strings, there are a few supporting or drone strings called Jhare or Jhare -ke-taar which rest on the main bridge, and are responsible for creating bigger sound.
  • Other instruments used by them are the Dholak and Khartaal.
  • Manganiyars present Ragas like Kalyani, Khamaichi etc. which have little or no resemblance with our classical Ragas.

  • It is a folk ballad form performed in Chhattisgarh and depicts the story of the Pandavas.
  • Traditionally it used to be performed by males but now females also perform it.
  • There is a lead artist and some supporting singers and musicians. 
  • The lead artist narrates one episode after another and enacts the characters in the scenes to produce a more realistic effect. Occasionally, he also breaks out into a dance movement. 
  • During the performance he sings along the rhythm produced by the ektara held in his hand. 
  • There are two styles of narration in Pandwani; Vedamati and Kapalik

  • Kaniyan koothu is a ritual art form practiced during temple festivals in Tamil Nadu only by men.
  • It gets its name from the community that the artists come from. Kaniyans are a Scheduled Tribe. 
  • It is at least 300 years old and can be traced back to 17th century.
  • Instrument: Magudam, or frame drum is the main instrument. It is made by fixing the new hide on the frame with a paste made from tamarind seed.
  • The lead singer is called annavi and he leads this troupe.
  • It has very deep religious significance and is not just about entertainment. 
  • The team never performs at weddings, deaths and functions at homes.
  • The performers receive no formal training; the singers pick up the songs and stories by listening to their fathers.
  • Kaniyan Koothu tells Puranic stories such as Markandeya and Harischandra Puranam and tales from Ramayana and Mahabarata, besides local dieties. 

Kaniyan tribe
  • The Kaniyan are a tribal community residing in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • Their population is less than 750 and only around 200 persons are currently performing the art.
  • Mohan Veena refers to two distinct Indian stringed classical instruments.
  • First kind is a modified Sarod created by the well know sarod artist Radhika Mohan Maitra and the other is a modified Hawaiian guitar created by Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.
  • Bhatt’s Mohan Veena is a highly modified concord arch top played lap-style.
  • It has nineteen strings and is under tremendous tension. The total strings pull can be in excess of 500 pounds.
  • Some variants of Mohan Veena include Chaturangui, Hansa Veena and Shankar Veena.

  • Traditional drum of Khasi community in Meghlaya. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried his hand on the drum while on his visit to Meghalaya at the 65th plenary session of North-Eastern Council. 

  • Kirana Gharana is one of the most prolific Pakistani and Hindustani Khayal gharanas.
  • The name of this school of music derives from Kirana or Kairana in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh, which is the hometown of stalwarts like Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan, who established this gharana.
  • It is considered the foremost in perfect intonation of notes or swara. The central concern of the Kirana style is swara, in particular precise tuning and expression of notes.
  • In the Kirana Gayaki, the individual notes (swaras) of the raga are considered not just random points in the scale but independent realms of music capable of horizontal expansion.
  • Most Hindustani musicians from Karnataka are exponents of kirana gharana, thanks to Ustad Abdul Kareem Khan (1872-1937). It has imbibed many features of the Carnatic tradition.
  • The border region along Karnataka and Maharashtra is famous for Kirana School of singing.

  • The Baul are a group of people from West Bengal and Bangladesh.
  • Bauls are usually Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims.
  • They can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments.
  • Though only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable.
  • In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
  • Baul music  o Its lyrics carry influences of the Hindu bhakti movements and the suphi, a form of Sufi song exemplified by the songs of Kabir.
  •  Musical instruments used by them are ektara, dotara, khamak, duggi, dhol and khol.