Folk arts forms of india

Folk arts forms of india
Image Credit- wikipedia

Folk art is the heritage of India, our culture, our expression of emotions in the form of art has not only improved expression but has also given our culture a unique identity. Folk art has many forms and many variants, like folk painting, folk music, folk dance and folk theatre, etc. Each form is a different kind of meaningful art which conveys a message. Our folk forms are our culture and we must enrich it.

Pandavani, an ancient form of folk music with its roots setting way back in history. Pandavani as the name itself suggests is a mixture of dance, music and theatre, singing tales of the great epic Mahabharata. Now the age of this form of music is not defined but according to Teejan Bai one its most renowned artist, this form is as old as the Mahabharata itself. This music mostly centers round the Pandavas specifically Bhima, the second Pandav, portraying him as a hero. This form of music was created to keep the stories of the Mahabharata epic alive and running through generations. Pandavani is performed predominantly in Chhattisgarh and is popular in the neighboring tribal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. It is performed episode by episode with music instruments like Harmonium, Tabla, Dholak and Manjira. It is mainly performed in two styles Vedamati a rather simple style where the artist sits on the floor and narrates the events and the other is Kapalika which is a livelier presentation where the story and the characters are enacted in a ballad form. Pandavani is known as the dark horse of Chhattisgarh folk dance. Some of the most known artists performing this folk form are Jhaduram Dewagan, Teejan Bai and Ritu Verma.

Kalbeliya, a dance from that originated from a tribe called Kalbeliya, a snake-charming tribe from the Thar Desert region of Rajasthan. The word Kalbeliya comes from two words ‘Kal’ meaning snakes and ‘beliya’ meaning friends, hance it becomes the snake dance. This folk-dance form is distinct because of the swirling movements like that of a serpent and the grace that this dance form drips, which makes it a treat to watch, it has been declared as one of the most sensuous folk-dance forms of India. Kalbeliya has been listed in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in 2010. This dance form is performed by women while men sing and play musical instruments like Dufli, Morchang, Dholak, Khanjari, Khuralio and Pungi. The songs and dances performed here are a part of an oral tradition passed down through generations, till date the members of the Kalbeliya tribe carry on the legacy. The tradition outfit worn by kalbeliya performers are generally in three pieces namely angrakhi, odhani and lehenga or ghagra in black and red decorated with small mirrors and silver thread. They also wear traditional oxidized jewelry like earrings, necklace, kamarbandh, bajubandh, etc. Along with having traditional designs and symbols tattooed on their body.

Pattachitra, is an ancient form of folk art, the word pattachitra consists of two words ‘patta’ which means leaf or surface and ‘chitra’ means a picture or painting, hence pattachitra is a general term for cloth based scroll painting. It is a folk form is based in Odisha and West Bengal. In Odisha there are three different types known as pattachitra (leaf painting), bhittachitra (wall painting) and tola/pothi chitra (leaf painting). And in West Bengal these are of five types known as durga pat, chalchitra, tribal pattachitra, medinipur pattachitra and kalighat pattachitra. These were made for ritual use and as souvenirs for pilgrims on their way to Puri. They used to be used as a part of an ancient Bengali narrative act, originally as a visual device to create more impact on the audience. It centered around religious centers like Puri, Konark and Bhubaneshwar, and also other cities like Midnapore, Bankura, Purala, Howrah and Hoogly. It presented pictures and stills from scenes of the Jagannath and Vaishnava sect. There are skilled artists who paint these as means of their living, and continue these eons old tradition.

Lavani, a folk-dance form that originated in Maharashtra in the 18th and 19th century is a very carefully yet beautifully corroborated combination of dance and music where the music is played by the men and the dance is performed by the women. Lavani is a very important pillar in the building of the Marathi folk theatre. It was initially mainly to entertain the war-weary soldiers, now it is the dance of the people for everyone irrespective of their background. It is known for its powerful rhythm and steadily increasing pace adding to the beauty of the dance. Lavani is derived from the word ‘lavanya’ which means beauty. The female performers here wear nauvari sarees (nine yard long sarees) with their hair tied in a bun and wearing heavy jewelry like thushi (necklace), bormaal, pohehaar, zumka (earrings), Ghungroo, kamarpatta, bangles with sindoor and a big red Bindi. The songs here are sensuous in sentiment and the dialogues are nauseated in socio-political satire. There are two types of lavani forms performed: Nirguni Lavani which is philosophical in nature and involves comments about the philosophy of life and the other is Srinagari Lavani which in sensual in nature and focuses on the love between a man and a women. Lavani is still widely practiced and performed and loved by the masses.

Madhubani Art, a form of folk art sometimes also known as Mithila painting is mainly practiced in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. This art form is named after the Madhubani district in Bihar. This is native to India and is a passed on through generations as a specific skill set. Making Madhubani painting is a centuries old tradition, only the in the earlier times it was done or made for particular occasions, nowadays it less for an occasion but more to protect our legacy. It mainly depicts pictures of nature, deities, the seven forces of nature like sun, moon, rain, wind, earth, fire, etc. It mostly characterized as paintings with no breathing space as in these paintings generally have no empty space, all spaces are covered by flowers or other motif. Madhubani painting has five distinct styles like Bharni, Katchni, Tantik, Godna and Kohbar, it is one of the most known folk art form in today’s time.

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