Music of Uttarakhand

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A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735.jpg
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
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Folk music of Uttarakhand refers to the traditional and contemporary songs of Kumaon and Garhwal regions in the foothills of Himalayas. This music has its root in the lap of nature and the hilly terrain of the region.

The folks songs of Uttarakhand are a reflection of the cultural heritage and the way people live their lives in the Himalayas. Common themes in the folk music of Uttarakhand are the beauty of nature, various seasons, festivals, religious traditions, cultural practices, folk stories, historical characters, the bravery of ancestors and love ballads.

Traditional musical instruments used in Uttarakhandi music include the dhol, damoun, turri, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora and masakbhaja. Tabla and Harmonium are also sometimes used, especially in recorded folk music from the 1960s onwards. In recent years, Uttarakhandi folk songs have undergone transformation. Generic Indian and global musical instruments have been incorporated in modern popular folks by singers like Narendra Singh Negi, Gopal Babu Goswami, Mohan Upreti, Chandra Singh Rahi etc. Modern themes include geo-political issues affecting the region, humour, nostalgia for the hills by the diaspora etc.

Traditional folk songs from the region, include ceremonial mandals, martial panwaras and melancholy khuded, thadya and jhoda.

Prominent Folk Artist of Uttarakhand[edit]

The earliest of the singers who left never ending impressions on the folk music of Uttarakhand are

1. Mr. Narendra Singh Negi Ji. Mr. Negi sung in every style of singing popular in Uttrakhand be it Jagar, Chaumasa, Thadiya or Playback. He sung in different local languages (Bolies) like Garhwali, Kumaoni, Jaunsari prevailing in the state. He started his music career by releasing "Garhwali Geetmala". These Garhwali Geetmalas came in 10 different parts. His first album came with the title called "Buraans". Buraans is a well-known flower found on hills.He has released most number of super-hit albums. He has also given his voice in many Garhwali movies like "Chakrachal","Gharjawai","Meri Ganga Holi Ta Maima Aali" etc. This renowned singer from Garhwal has sung more than 1000 songs till now. Although he mostly composes his music in the folk genre, his lyrics depict a huge range of anxieties, tensions and human insights of the people of Uttarakhand. His Song "Tihri Dam" and "Nauchami Narain" created a wave in Uttranchal. "Tehri Dam" was the story of displacement of locals from their land and Nauchami Narain was a political satire on the CM of that times. He is widely considered as an inspirational figure in cultivating and popularizing the sounds and rhythms of Uttarakhand.

2. Next famous personality associated with Uttrakhand Folk Music is Mohan Upreti, who is known for his Nanda Devi Jagar & Rajula Malu Shahi Ballad.[1] He is famous for the great Uttrakhandi song Bedu Pako Baro Masa which for many years has been the identity of the hills of Uttarakahand.[clarification needed] It is said that this song was also a favourite of Jawahar Lal Nehru who heard it in a band march as this song is also a popular marching song.

3. Shri Gopal Babu Goswami who is considered to be a legend in Uttrakhand for his melodious voice.[2] His songs on the life of the members of the armed forces and their families, like Kaile baje muruli, Ghughuti na basa and many others are legendary, it is said that when these songs were transmitted on the All India Radio, women with their husbands could not help but weep when they heard the soul touching voice of Gopal Da as he was lovingly called.

4. Shri Chander Singh Rahi who is considered to be the voice of Uttrakhand. He collected more than 2500 folk songs from Uttrakhand.He was also a very talented writer.He gave us many hit songs such as 'sarag tara,bhana hai rangeeli bhana,sauli ghura ghur,saat samundar paar,hilma chandi ku,jara thandu chla di and many more.The first gazal in garhwali language also gave by him known as "Teri Mukhidi".

5. Heera Singh Rana is identified as a singer and a poet of whose songs are known to describe the pain of the people of the hills.

In the past decade Uttarakhandi Music has seen a revolution as various Music Recording / Cassette Producing agencies such as Rama Video Cassette,Neelam cassettes and T-Series, provided opportunities for young talents from local areas, to make their own Cassettes and to get the songs recorded in the BIGBOSS digital sound recording studio (101, Karanpur, Dehradun Uttarakhand). This has led to a sudden surge in the number of young talents from various corners of Uttarakhand, which include famous personalities such as Fauji Lalit Mohan Joshi, Heera Singh Rana, Kalpana Chauhan, Meena Rana, Anuradha Nirala, Pritam Bharatwan, Gajendra Rana, Arvind Singh Rawat. All these singers have made their contribution to the Kumaoni / Garhwali Music through various hit songs / music albums over the period.

Some famous songs / albums from Uttarakhand include Fauji Lalit Mohan Joshi's "Maya Ki Yaad", "Tak Taka Tak Kamla"; Gajendra Rana's "Malu", "Rani Gorkhani", "Leel Ghasyari", "Pushpa"; Pritam Bhartwan's "Saruli", "Rajuli".

Also, with an advance in the technology and easy availability of video cameras and other recording devices, lots of talents have started producing music albums, which has further led to the popularization of the various folk dance forms of Uttarakhand. In fact, Kumaoni / Garhwali songs have gained so much popularity over the years that they have become integral part of the DJ Music played during wedding and other functions.


Kaile Baje Muruli Baina - Gopal Babu Goswami.mp3

Welcome Uttarakhand Garhwali song -

Hai Teri Rumala - Gopal Babu Goswami.mp3