Attractions Of Punjab...

Folk Music
There was a tradition of wrestlers living in every village, and while they practised at the 'Akhara' a music grew around their practice called akhara singing. The drum plays a very important part in the folk music of Punjab. It provides the basic accompaniment to most of folk music. The Dhol and Dholik, the male and female drum players had its own relevant use. The information of an impending army was communicated by the sound of the Dhol, when information was given to the neighbouring villages through a particular beat. The instruments used in Punjabi folk are typical to the region. The toombi, algoza, chheka, chimta, kaanto, daphali, dhad and manjira are some of the popular traditional folk instruments. As in the rest of the country Sikh religion is deeply connected with music. In fact a glossary of music and Ragas are given at the end of the Guru Granth Sahib, the tradition starting with Mardana, who accompanied Guru Nanak on his travels who sang the bani of Guru Nanak with an ‘ektaara’ and the ‘rhubarb’. Classical ragas are used in the ‘shabad kirtan’, gayaki of Punjab. The sixth Guru Hargobind gave patronage to sect of singers who sang only martial songs. Called ‘Dhadis’, they sing at shrines and festivals, ballads, vars, and about the heroic feats of the Sikhs. Along with the "Dhad" the ‘dhadi’ also uses a sarangi, as a musical accompaniment. A strong tradition of the ‘kissa sahity’ of Punjab is very much part and parcel of Punjabi folk music. The legends of Heer Ranjha , Sohni Mahiwal, Sassi Punnu, Puran Bhagat are sung more in a semi classical style. The Punjabi ‘kaffi and kali’ are part of this genre. Related to this is the ‘sufiana kallam’ of Punjab as a result of a strong Sufi tradition in the state. The Heer in particular has a strong sufi base.

A glimpse into the lives and culture of the people of Punjab can be got through the folk idiom of Punjab. There is a great importance of music, right from the time of birth to death, of love and separation of dance, of marriage and fulfilment. Culturally Punjab can be divided into three regions, Malwa, Majha and Doaba. Today Malwa represents the true spirit of Punjabi folk traditions.

Later in the eighteenth and nineteenth century there started in Punjab a strong school of classical music centering around Patiala known today as the Patiala Gharana. The founders of this gahrana were Ustaad Ali Bux and Ustaad Fateh Ali who were great singers in the Patiala Darbar. Their disciples and admirers were numerous. Notable amongst them were Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali and his brother Barkat Ali who brought the Patiala Gharana on the forefront of Khayal gayaki. And thus started the ‘chau-mukhia’ style, which included dhrupad, khyal thumri and the taraana. Each of these styles too have their particular flavour, the energy and zest of the soil of Punjab... Parallel to this was the growth of a gharana of tabla playing which is also known as the Punjab style, of which Alla Rakha the great tabla maestro belongs. No occasion goes off without the association of music in Punjab. Right from the moment a woman announces the news of the conception of a baby, songs start. The third month, the fifth month, and then of the actual birth of baby is associated with joyous songs about the impending arrival. There are songs which tell about the love of a brother or a sister. Once a marriage is finalised, and preparations of the marriage start in the boy's and girl's family. During the process of washing and cleaning the grain, of making new clothes, and household items, songs are sung by the woman in the family as they work through the night, that the 'dhol' is not used as the men folk who are sleeping should not have their sleep disturbed. And then the numerous songs associated with the wedding. In the girl’s side 'Suhag' is sung, and in the boy’s side, songs while he mounts the mare, 'Sehra' and 'Ghodi' are sung. After the Barat is received 'Patal Kaavya' is sung after tea and while the 'Barat' is eating food together. Jugni, Sammi are basically songs centring around love, in the Jugni normally the bachelors gather together and sing about their beloved. The Sammi is more a gypsy dance, which is performed as an expression of joy and victory, around the fire at night. Sammi is an imaginary female character of folk poetry, belonging to the Marwar area of Rajasthan who fell in love with the the young prince, and it is around their love story that the music and dance is set to. In the list of happy songs are included, Luddie, Dhamal and of course the Giddha and the Bhangra, which is all set to music,
which is typical of Punjab. Along with the 'Dhol' primarily, are sung 'Bolis' which can be divided into two categories, 'singly boli' and' lengthy boli'. Centering around mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law and other character from everyday life the music of these two lively traditions is extremely enervating.