Music to my Ears

India has probably the most depth and diversity of music as compared to any other country in the world. There is the centuries old strong underpinning of classical music in the form of Hindustani Classical practiced in the Northern and Western parts of the country and the Carnatic originating and practiced mostly in the Southern parts of the country. Indian classical music goes back a long time, and has got progressively refined based on the myriad influences in line with the changing demographics of the country and multiple influences from outside. There are Gharanas which like schools of thought are schools of music. For those not so classically inclined are the folk music traditions from various parts of the country. More often than not these are not just music, but also dance styles. Representing Assam is the Bihu. Clsoer to Assam are the more than 2000 songs written by Rabindranath Tagore which are now referred to as RobindroSangeet. RabindraSangeet is an amalgamation of many styles with an underpinning of light India classical. Moving westwards, there is the Dandiya music played during the Navratri festival in Gujarat. It also forms an accompaniment to the Garba dance form. Maharashtra is represented by the Lavni music which is very earthy and rural and is a dance, music and drama combination, played to strong beats of the dholak. There is the more sedate Pahadi music from the hills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The typical instrument associated with these sounds is the flute. As you go further North, there are the Shikarawalas singing praises of the beauty of the Kashmir valley and the Dal lake in Srinagar. Kashmir also brings memories of the melodious sound of the Santoor. The deserts of Rajasthan are vibrant with strong classical traditions from the Jaipur gharana to the more folksyLanga-Manganiyar, all soulful renditions. There are even musical instruments which are very local to the state like the Rawanthatta. Sarangi is also used widely in this state. For the connoisseurs of music, the sounds can transfer you mentally to the images of these states. In a nutshell, every state has its own music, and sometimes multiple forms within the same state. There are binding traditions of classical music and the more popular film music which cuts across states, representing unity and integrity in the diversity of Indian folk culture. Not only is there variety of music from different states, there is music for every occasion and festivals across religions. Just reading about it is music to my ears…rings a bell?