In Maharashtra, almost all cheerful occasions are associated with music, song and dance. Maharashtra has rich traditions of abundant folk songs, Natya Sangeet and outstanding poet saints. The fame of traditional music of Maharashtra started through Miraj, the music town, of district Sangali and Gwalior. Although like Maharashtra’s literature, the music of Maharashtra is classical and primordial. The Sitar, a world famed Indian melodic device, is developed at Miraj.

Folk music and songs are the integral part of everyday life of the countryside Maharashtra. Nautanki, Lavani and Tamasha (Folk musical traditions) are incredibly famous in Maharashtra. However, bunch of these traditional art forms are fading out and the artists are at intricacy to maintain their daily needs.

Tukaram, Namdeo, Jnandev, Soraya and Jani are the popular and significant poet saints of Maharashtra. These poet saints fused devotion (Bhakti) and knowledge (Jnana) in their preaching’s of worship into the oneness of God.

Famous Folk Music of Maharashtra

Povada and Lavana are the main and admired folk songs to amuse the rural community of Maharashtra. Folk song ‘Bhaleri’ is sung to motivate the farmers who work in the fields. There are special folk songs to sing on harvesting times for energizing the working people. “Owi” folk song is sung by village women of Maharashtra at dawn to portray ‘Sasural’ husband’s home and ‘Maika’ their father’s home. Special folk songs are sung by Suvasinis at the auspicious occasions of Ghana and Halad ceremonies in marriages. Lullaby folk songs “palane” are melodiously sung to relax child to sleep in Maharashtra. The folk song “Artya” is devotionally sung to soothe the rage of deities to protect from diseases like plague, smallpox etc.

The added forms of the public entertainments available in Maharashtra which are based on the singing of folk songs are Abhangas, Kirtan, Lalita, Tumbadi, Bharud, Gondhal and Bhajans etc. Folk music also includes some other kinds of performances like Lavani, Lalita, Tamasha, Povadas and Gondhal for public entertainments.

Natya Sangeet is a kind of theater music which is performed on the stage and very popular art of Maharashtra. Natya Sangeet is based on the Indian classical music forms but presented on stage in semi classical forms. The tunes are sociable blend of pure classical and old musical styles with repeated rhythmic alterations. Collective instrumental music in background nails the masterpiece entirely in synchronization with the vocals. Narayanrao Rajhauns / Bal Gandharva is Natya Sangeet maestro and whole generation of Natya Sangeet of Hindustani classical music and Marathi musical theatre is developed under him.

Poets and their Poetries of Maharashtra

Dnyaneshwar, his two brothers and only sister Muktabai were all saint poets. Dnyaneshwar’s great effort, the Dnyaneshwari, is remarkable rhymes explanation on Bhagwat Gita. Anubhavamitra is his notable work. Poet saint Namdev wrote in Marathi as well as in Hindi and some of his Hindi songs were incorporated in Guru Granth Sahib. Saint Namdeo travelled all over Maharashtra, along with saint Dnyaneshwara, to taught people about profound dedication to God.

Saint Eknath (1533-99) compared Bhakti and Jnana with flower and fruit respectively which are inseparable. He inherited the endeavors of Namdeo and Dnyaneshwara. Eknath also condensed the manuscript of ‘Dnyaneshwari’ as it became erroneous in due course of time. He was both poet and scholar and his explanation of Chapter- XI of Bhagwat Geeta is as thoughtful and enlightening as that of Dnyaneshwari. Saint Eknath also wrote spiritual songs such as Owees, Bharuds and Abhangas. Tukaram (1608-50) wrote peculiar religious poetry in rural simplicity and absolute truthfulness on self revelation along with deep indulgent and enthusiastic fidelity. He wrote devotional songs and executed ‘Keertans’.


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