Folk Dance and Music
There is a great tradition of popular poetry, which is written under the rival banners of Turru and Kalangi. This is a sung in groups in Jikri, Kanhaiyya or Geet(of the Meenas), Hele-ke-Khyal and Bam Rasiya of Eastern Rajasthan. Group singing of classical bandishes, called the Dangal or taalbandi is also unique to this region. Bhopas are singing priests of various deities or warrior saints.The Bhopas of Mataji wear costumes and play the Mashak.
Dance is often part of the musical tradition and the Theories or Nayaks who are Pabu Bhopas, have a female accompanist; together they recite the phad ( a painted ballad). The phad itself is an elaborately painted work of art and deeply venerated. The Chipas or Joshis are famous phad painters.
The Jogis were well-known for their recitation of the great ballad Nihalde Sultan, Shivji-ka-byawala and songs about Gopi Chand and Bhartrihari. Most of these musical communities live a rural base and function as wandering minstrels traveling from village to village. There are many other artists in different art forms who use music as an accompaniment. The Dholies, also known as Mirasis, Dhadhies, Manganiyarv and Langas are known for their distinct musical styles.
Recital of Pabuji's Phad
State and royal patronage elevated some of these musicians into Kalawants in the royal courts. Their music had acquired a sophistication that was absent from the rustic tones of the others. The famous Maand of RAjasthan, which is a unique style of singing and a core melody, is their creation. True to its desert environment, the Maand speaks of love, separation, chivalry and revelry. Ballads are an integral part of the professional repertoire and Dhola Maru, Moomal-Mahendra, Doongji-Jawarji, Galaleng, Jala-Boobna, Nagji-Nagwatnti are the most popular ones. The Mahabharat and the Ramayan are popular themes for ballads and the Mirasis and Jogis of Mewat have a delightful folk version of the former, while Hadoti has the Ramayan of Dhai kadi.
Karna Bhil playing the Nad
Folk opera is another field which has been made immensely popular by the professionals, often in association with amateurs. The Chairawi and Kuchamani Khyals, Maach of Chittaurgarh area, Tamayha of Jaipur and Rammat of Bikaner are famous. The Nautanki and Rasleela are also seen in western Uttar Pradesh, but sadly, the Alibakshi Khyal, the original Bhawai plays (which still have a strong presence in Gujrat) and the musical traditions of the Rasadharies and Rawals are now extinct.