Punjab is known to have one of the most diverse and expressive culture in India and the Music and dance is an important component for showcasing it. The dances of Punjab are the most energetic forms of performing arts that you will ever witness. The synchronization found in the dances is simply outstanding. Almost all dances of the state are accompanied with a dhol. There are no dances where men and women dance together. Bhangra is for men whereas Giddha is performed by women.
Bhangra – The Dance of Beats
Started as a celebration dance in Punjab villages for welcoming the spring season, Bhangra today has turned into a world wide phenomenon. This dance has carried the name of Punjab across all seas more than anything else. Over the years, Bhangra has changed quite a lot. Traditionally, Bhangra was a mix of high tempo dance steps, songs and music instruments like Dhol, iktar (a single stringed instrument) and chimta. The songs sung along with the dance are generally based on themes like love, patriotism, or pertaining to social issues.
Giddha – The Rhythmic Steps of Women Folk
If you thought Bhangra was highly spectacular, then Giddha will give you the same kind of entertainment. Like Bhangra is performed only by men, Giddha is the specialty area of women. This dance is generally performed during special occasions like festivals or marriages. Giddha performed during marriages is called ‘Viyahula Giddha’. The performers stand in a circle forming a ring. One women sits in the center of the ring and plays the Dhol. The best thing about the dance is that there are no hard and fast rules to which the dancers have to perform.
Punjabi Folk Music
Punjabi folk music is unlike any other you would have ever heard. There is no complications, no exaggerations, but still the tune and rhythm of the songs, takes you into a different world.
Musical Instruments –
Garah – The simple earthen pitcher serves as a musical instrument in a number of folk songs. The Garah player strikes its sides with rings worn on fingers of one hand and also plays on its open mouth with the other hand to produce a distinct rhythmic beat.
Dhol – Dhol is a favorite folk instrument of Punjab. It is a percussion instrument, which is used not only at male dance performances but also during social rituals and festive celebrations. The drummer is called Dholi or Bharaj. The dhol is a barrel-shaped wooden drum with a mounted skin on both sides.
Chimta – This is a percussion twang-type instrument used in Punjab and neighbouring areas. The tradition of playing it with songs goes back to the Naths or Jogis. This instrument consists of two long, flat pieces of iron with pointed ends, and rings mounted on it. The joint is held in one hand, while the two parts are struck with each other to produce tinkling sounds.
Toomba – Toomba is a famous folk instrument of Punjab, which is entirely based on Iktara (single stringed instrument), used by the legend singers. Now it’s been adopted by a number of Punjabi folk singers. Toomba is made of wooden sticks mounted with a Toomba or wooden resonator covered with skin. A metallic string is passed on a resonator over a bridge and tied to the key at the end of the stick.
Algoza – Algoza consists of a pair of wooden flutes. It is also called Jori (a pair) and is played by one person using only three fingers on each side. Folk singers of Punjab use this in their traditional legend singing