Music of Jharkhand

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A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735.jpg
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
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Jharkhand's music tradition consists of various tribal forms and is known for its diversity. Among the more popular is jhumar which is always accompanied by dance.


Jharkhandi Tribals are very fond of dance and music. There are about 64 seasonal dance forms and numerous ragas in Oraon tribe itself. It is as such that the raga in which song is sung cannot be repeated after a week or so. In major tribes, dance is performed in Akhra and nobody in the community can dance solo.

Jharkhand music does not always necessarily play the role that is purely entertainment. More often than not, they have some ritualistic and social significance attached to them. Sometime they commemorate some tribal incidence of tribal significance and sometime they provide social commentary. 


In fact, music has often acted as the voice of protest against oppression and has worked as important political tools. However, more often the themes are religious and draw from the mythological canon of tales and stories as subjects of representation.

Jhumar is one of the major folk forms of Jharkhand. Jhumar in Jharkhand share a lot with the Jhumar forms of the Purulia and the Bankura districts of West Bengal and also some of the neighboring states of Bihar. It is mainly practiced by the members of the Santhal community and performs clear ritualistic functions. Jhumar is typically a folk performance, performed to the accompaniment of traditional instruments like tribal drums called madals and singas. They are performed on important social and religious functions and usually deals with the theme of love and romance.