The striking feature of Rajasthan’s music and dance scene is that there is great variety. In fact, nothing much has changed since the time of their inception, probably a thousand years back. The music and dance are rooted in tradition. Although music and dance are an integral part of the daily life of Rajasthan, it is more pronounced during festivals. Songs of ancient poets like Kabir, Malookdas and Meera have become an integral part of the Rajasthani folklore. Apart from festivals, music and dance are also performed during special occasions like marriage, and childbirth.
There are certain exclusive musician communities like the Bhats, the Charans, the Bhopas, the Dholis to name just a few of the communities who have been performing the age old musical soirees in Rajasthan.
Rajasthani folk music are accompanied by traditional instruments like Baara, Algoza, Sarangi, Jantar, Ektara etc. all of which adds punch to the Rajasthani music scene. The music of Rajasthan is very vibrant and the manner in which Rajasthani music has evolved by absorbing the unique features of its adjoining states like Gujrat, Haryana and Punjab has meant that Rajasthani music is bold and evocative. It has already carved a niche for itself in not only India but has also been very popular overseas, courtesy the “Festival of India” shows that are conducted in a select few western countries.
As far as Rajasthani dances are concerned, they are not only spectacular but also very colorful. Rajasthani people know how to celebrate life and dancing is one important medium of celebration. There is great diversity and each region has its won unique dance forms and no two regional dances are the same. Even the instruments used are different.
There are specialized performers who belong to clans like Dholis, Bhopas and Bhands who regularly perform in the villages of Rajasthan to the utter delight of the simple village folks.
For instance, the Ghoomer dance is a trademark women’s dance performed by the women themselves who dance elegantly in circles. Then, there is the Chari dance which is renowned for the fact that dancers dance with a pot on ones head and a lighted diya is then placed on top of the pot. This particular dance requires great skill. There is also the Kachi Ghodi wherein dummy horses are designed and gorgeously dressed men who holds swords in their hands dance in rhythmic unison.
For a touch of exotica, there is the mesmerizing Fire dance of Bikaner which is hosted in a large open ground where wood and charcoal are lighted and the energetic dancers dance in a transcendental state of mind. The tribals of Rajasthan are a colorful lot and the spectacularly rhythmic Gair Ghoomer dance form of the colorful Bheel tribals which is performed by both men and women is a feast to the eyes.