Folk Music

These guys, the other day, were talking about music. Well, not music, but something to do with music. The words coming up often were Bhangra, Sirtaki, Kolbasti. The discussion started with music, and went on to the nature of music.

Laurel was talking about how some new music he had heard and how he thought it was brilliant. To which, Hardy opined that probably the more important aspect of music isnt brilliance but the way it can uplift us, the way it brings vitality to our lives. And this is where they went at each other again. Laurel was of the opinion that musical brilliance is one of the epitomes of cultural sophistication, that the heights of cultural achievement of any civilization can be defined by the brilliance of its art. Hardy, though, was of the opinion that the more important aspect of music is its earthy nature. One thing led to another, and soon they were talking about classical and folk music.

Now, these two are very different from each other, and the purists seldom look upon folk music as the pure form of music. Having said that, there is some quality of folk music which endears it to people. There must be something because of which people, centuries after centuries, have not just been attracted to folk music and dance, but have been participating in them. In fact, it is this quality of the folk form of music and dance which endears them to people. There is, in folk music, no distinction between the performer and the audience. In fact, the performer is the audience.

Folk music from different parts of the world has one common aspect … It brings a certain joy, a certain vigour, vitality to life.

Heres a video of the Zorba dance (Sirtaki) where you will see people spontaneously joining in the dance. The point of folk music is this: it is a celebration, of life, of all the things God gives us. And this is why people tend to spontaneously get attracted to the simple, earthy charm of folk music. You dont necessarily need to know the culture, the language, to feel the vibrant spirit of folk music.

The dance isnt synchronized, people are not always in step with each other, but thats exactly the point … this isnt necessarily about musical brilliance, but about that something which spontaneously gets you clapping, and draws you.

Now look at this dance, from a country which the Greeks have traditionally not been too friendly with. This is the Kolbasti dance, and this comes from Turkey.

You will see similarities in the dance movements and the music, but those could be ascribed to geographical proximity.

Heres the Bhangra … one of the many dance forms of the Punjab. This video is from India.

And this one from Pakistan.

So not just does it get you clapping, this vitality of folk music can also get people together!

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9 Responses to Folk Music

  1. Atul says:

    You are right … celebration of life. Like the Bhangra is typically done at happy occasions, especially at harvest time (which is very important, Punjab being a primarily agrarian economy) and at weddings. Another aspect is that in India, folk music and dance is mostly connected with religion, and is a dedication to God! For example, the dandiya, garba, and chhau!


  2. akzamy says:

    There are some who dig out the lost folks and spice it up with a bit of fusion in it.
    especially the Laya Project did it awesomely.

    Here is a sufi tamil chant, from the Nagore brothers

    and not to miss this bliss of South Indian folk, will make even a corpse stand up and dance to its beat


  3. 9minnon says:

    Thanks for sharing some really nice videos. These are really nice. And you do bring up an important point … there are so many different forms of music (forms in terms of language, genre, form) which we have, and the heartening thing is the way these forms are being rediscovered and revived today.


    • akzamy says:

      Glad you liked it 🙂

      We feel the folk music or dance is more soulful coz its more to do with the beats rather than melody or music, and there wasnt any “rules/octaves/melody” governing it.


      • Atul says:

        Really lovely music appeals to the soul. When you close your eyes, and are transported to a magical land by the music, thats when it has touched your soul. And thats what makes the music truly amazing, probably more than the melody of the beat.


  4. Pingback: Folk Dances in India | 9minnon's Blog

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