Folk Music

Village life in Maharashtra has many events on different occasions to celebrate in groups or individually by singing and dancing. The Povada and Lavani songs in Maharashtra are a very popular entertainment sources among the village folks. “Bhaleri” are the folk-songs which are sung to energize the farmers working in the ground. When farmers indulge in bullock treading of corn during harvesting time, some special songs are sung to motivate them.

The village women, at dawn, sung an accompaniment song known as “Owi” while pounding the grindstone. The “Owi” song includes the words of “Sasural”, husband’s home and ‘Maika’, her father’s home. The other legendary folk songs for the fortunate marriage occasions are sung by “Suvasinis” at the Ghana and the Halad marriage ceremonies. Lullabies or ‘Palane’ and songs at cradle time are the relaxing songs for bringing a child to sleep. To calm down the wrath of ‘plague’ and ‘smallpox’ deities, the propitiatory songs or “Artya” are sung in the praise of Goddesses and Gods. The indigenous riddles rich rhymes “Ukhane” and short simple songs intimately involving the husband’s name (ditties) collected for women to utter her husband’s name during singing.

Folk Music

The renowned and admired folk songs which amuse the villagers of Maharashtra are Povada and Lavani. Folk song ‘Bhaleri’ is sung to applaud and energize the field operational farmers. People also sing specially crafted harvesting songs during crops production time.

Natya Sangeet

Natya Sangeet is a kind of stage music which is played on the stage and awfully admired music style of Maharashtra. It has its origin in Indian classical music and presented before audiences in semi classical form.

Poets of Maharashtra

Jnandev, widely known as Jnaneshwara, Muktabai (his sister) and two brothers were all poet saints. The stupendous rhyme commentary on the Bhagwat Gita, the Jnaneshwari, is a great work of poet saint Jnaneshwar. Anubhavamrita is another significant work by Jnaneshwara. Namdev was another popular saint who wrote both in Marathi and Hindi.

An Entertainment for the Whole Community

The other popular singing forms based on folk songs for society entertainments in Maharashtra are Bharud, Bhajans, Kirtan, Gondhal, Tumbadi and Abhangas. The Bhajan singing which is meant for religious unity by chanting devotional songs in chorus by devotees is commonly popular.

Non-stop Bhajan singing sessions for seven days known as “Bhajan Saptahas” are conducted in well-known temples occasionally. The ‘Bharuda’ form of singing has strong religious base of “Kirtan Parampara” which presents performances on poet saint’s inspired compositions. Mridanga and Cymbals are widely used for drumming support.

‘Gondhali’ and his group professionally perform a semi-musical “Gondhal” act in honor of Goddesses and Gods like Bhavani, Lord Rama, Malhari and other celebrated religious heroes. A ‘Kirtankar’ performs musical “Kirtan” in which religion and God are explained and interpreted in prose and poetry.

“Lalita” is a form of basic plays derived perhaps from Marathi Drama, which has themes from epics and purans. The musical instrument “Tumbadi” is used to highlight the social problems. Distinctive Maharashtra’s devotional songs are “Abhangas” which were popularized by well known saints such as Sant Eknaath, Swami Ramdas, Sant Tukaram etc.

Thus we observe that devotional and folk songs are the integral part of everyday lives of countryside people. However, the performers of these arts are not meeting their both ends for maintenance so numbers of these arts are dying out. Many of them shifted to cities but without much financial rewards.

Government of Maharashtra organizes the “Ghoda Fair” a grand tourist attraction in every winter at Mumbai, where these fading folk art performers can be spotted and felt.

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