Music of Bihar

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Music of India
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735.jpg
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
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Regional music

Bihar is a state of India. The classical form of the Indian music is already quite well known (for example, Bihar has produced musicians like Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan and dhrupad singers like the Malliks (Darbhanga Gharana) and the Mishras (Bettiah Gharana)) and the classical music in Bihar is but a form of the Hindustani classical music. This article deals with the folk culture of Bihar.

The region's folk songs are associated with the various events in the life of an ordinary person. The historical ballads dealing with the heroic deeds of the freedom fighter Kunwar Singh have also been immortalized through folk songs in the plain tracts of Bihar. Religiosity is the pivot around which the music and amusements of the village folk of Bihar revolve. There are songs like sohar - performed during childbirth, sumangali - associated with wedding, ropnigeet - performed during the season of sowing paddy, katnigeet - performed during the paddy harvesting season, purbi, Fagua- Holi festival song, Ghato-Chaita & Chaiti is very popular in the month of Chait (Hindi calendar), bidesia, birha, kajari, irni/ birni, pachra, jhumar, jatsari, aalah, nirgun and samdaun. There is also the tradition of war songs called Beer Kunwar.

The influence of Bihari music in seen in regions such as Mauritius, South Africa and the Caribbean, where a large number of Bihari indentured labourers were taken during the nineteenth century as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh where many Bihari Muslims migrated to after the partition of India.

There is a great tradition of folk songs started by Bhikhari Thakur, an artist from the Bhojpur region.

Other wandering folk singers include the Kathaks, who travelled in groups and performed accompanied by dholak, sarangi, tamburu and majira. Other musician classes included Roshan Chouki, Bhajaniya, Kirtaniya, Pamaria and Bhakliya.