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One of the interesting things about Bhangra is that it’s not just a single dance form but it encompasses a large number of sub-genres as well. The major sub-genres of Bhangra are Dhamal, Jhumar, Daankara, Luddi, Giddha, Julli, Gatka, Saami, and Kikli. All these sub-genres follow different dance formats and together they combine to form an all-round view of original Bhangra. It is a graceful dance, based on a specific Jhumar rhythm. Dancers generally circle around a drum player while singing a soft chorus. A person performing the Luddi dance places one hand behind his head and the other in front of his face, while swaying his head and arms. The various types of Bhangra dances are like `Daankara` which is actually the dance of celebration, generally performed at weddings. Two men, each holding colorful staves, dance around each other in a circle while tapping their sticks together in rhythm with the drums. Dancers also form a circle while performing ‘Dhamal’, another dance form. They hold their arms high, shake their shoulders and heads, and shout and scream. Dhamal is a true folk-dance, representing the heart of Bhangra. ‘Kikli’ features pairs of dancers, but are generally performed by women. The dancers cross their arms, hold each other`s hands, and whirl around singing folk songs. Sometimes four girls join hands to perform this dance. Gatka is a Sikh martial art in which people use swords, sticks, or daggers.
The celebration of Harvest and the Baisakhi Festival begins with the dance steps known as Bhangra. This tradition has been followed since 1947 – the year when India became Independent.
Its a fusion of dance, music, and the Dhol. The songs sung in it are in the form of couplets called the Bolis. The steps taken in the dance are in rhythm with this bolis. As per the history, this dance began either in the Alexander Regime or in the 14th or 15th century when the farmers used to dance and sing to pass their time at the time of harvest. Thus the story of the Bhangra begun.
Bhangra songs are mainly about the history of Punjab. As time passed, bhangra became a part of all the major festivals and dances of Punjab. From here came the alterations in the songs and dance of Bhangra. And so Bhangra became a part of Punjabi Culture. Jhumar, Luddi, Giddha, Julli, Daankara, Dhamal, Saami, Kikli, and Gatka – all are various forms of Bhangra which developed later on.
“Punjab is a land of plenty, of large-hearted people and of life. Greenfields, hard-working men, and women and good food are things that come to mind when thinking of Punjab but something that is even more characteristic are the beats of the Bhangra. “
Bhangra, because of its liveliness, has gained popularity all over the country. Its catchy beats and up-tempo music can be heard everywhere today. Its popularity can be attributed to many who helped bring it out of Punjab and spread it all over the country. But there is one man in particular whose name has now become synonymous with Bhangra. He is a husband, a father, and a world-renowned entertainer. He popularized Bhangra like no one else before and spread it not only all over the country but all over the world.
Originally Bhangra was danced on Baisakhi, which is the harvest celebration festival, but today no reason is needed to enjoy this exciting dance. A night at the disco is incomplete without a dance of Daler’s music. In fact, it is rare to come back home without it.
Punjab’s Bhangra Dance This king of Bhangra pop is not just an entertainer but also a philanthropist. Ninety percent of his shows are for Charitable causes such as the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund – Jammu, for raising funds for schools for Police Welfare Funds, etc. On the outskirts of Delhi, there is a facility where people from all sections of society can go and enjoy a full meal for free at any time of the day or night.
Folk Dances of Punjab
Gidda Dance, Punjab
Punjab’s Gidda DancesDuring Lohri occasion, the Punjabi women reveling joy, give vent to their suppressed feelings in a male-dominated society through the Giddha. Slogans known as bolis are sung while dancing which exhibits the deep human feeling. These bolis cover varied themes from nature to excesses committed by the husband and his relatives, some talk about love affairs to the loneliness of a bride separated from her groom. The Punjabi salwar kameez or lehnga, rich in color and decoration is worn. No musical instruments except perhaps a dholak accompany a Giddha.
The dance is derived from the ancient ring dance. One of the girls plays on the drum or ‘dholki’ while others form a circle. Some times even the dholki is dispensed with. While moving in a circle, the girls raise their hands to the level of their shoulders and clap their hands in unison. Then they strike their palms against those of their neighbors. Rhythm is generally provided by clapping of hands.
Punjab’s Gidda Dance Giddha is a very vigorous folk dance and like other such dances, it is very much an affair of the legs. So quick is the movement of the feet in its faster parts that it is difficult for the spectator even to wink till the tempo falls again. The embroidered ‘dupattas’ and heavy jewelry of the participants whose number is unrestricted further exaggerate the movements.
Bhangra Dance, Punjab
Punjab’s Bhangra DanceMusic with its entire effervescence transcends all realities whilst lifting the soul. It is an effort of illustrating the truth, of manifesting the eternal feelings of love, bliss, tears, and happiness. Indian music amidst its fizz and pulse has thawed a billion hearts since the remote past
Bhangra is a popular genre of the Indian folk music, which with its root deeply associated in the land of Punjab has somewhat, redefined the very structure of Indian folk music to a great level. In its conventional sense, Bhangra is a typical dance form. It was much later Bhangra crossing the bar of being just a folk dance of the “harvesting season” called the “Vaisakhi “, gradually became a popular musical expression where the term “harmony” gained a definite articulation.
Among the most virile, vigorous, and captivating dances of India, Bhangra includes tricks and acrobatic feats in its performance. It strongly reflects the vigor, the vitality, the leaven of exuberance, and the hilarity permeated among the rural folk due to the promise of a coming bumper crop. Bhangra includes the drummer who usually stands in the center of the circle in an open space surrounded by dancers who even recite meaningless `bolis`, words such as “Hoay, Hoay”; or “Balle, Balle”, which not only inspire themselves but also others for the dance.
Punjab’s Bhangra DanceThe drummer in this dance holds two sticks with the help of which he beats the drum, to beckon the dancers to a higher tempo of movement. At the initial stage, dance starts with a slow movement of their feet. But as the tempo increases, the entire body comes into action. The dancers whirl round and round bending and straightening their bodies, jumping on one leg, raising their hands and start clapping their hands with their handkerchiefs.
At the intervals, the tempo of the dance becomes slow, dancers stop moving, but continue to beat the rhythm with their feet. One of the dancers from the group come forward near the drummer and covering his left ear with his palm sings a boali or dholla, derived from the traditional folk songs of Punjab. Picking up the last lines of boali, the dancers again start dancing with greater vigor than before.
For powerful music set up, in addition to a drum, chimta-musical tongs and burchu and sound of the beats from earthen vessels are used. The costumes of a Bhangra dancer are unique, which suits the vigor of dance. They are consists of a bright, colored Patka on the head, a lacha or lungi of the same color, a long tunic, and a black or blue waistcoat and ghunghroos on the ankles. Some dancers also wear small rings (nuntian) in their ears as an ornament.
Punjab’s Bhangra DanceThe Bhangra season concludes with the fair of Baisakhi when the wheat crop is harvested. There are several styles of performing Bhangra like Sialkoti, Sheikhupuri, Tribal, Malwa, Majha, etc. One of the steps or moves of Bhangra is also similar to the moves of Shiv-Tandav dance, which is danced on one leg by Shiva. Damru i.e. hand-drum is also used in Bhangra.
It was during the later part of the 80s Bhangra for the very first time crossing the bars of the “secluded halls ” entered into the glamorous world of the clubs of England which offered an international diction to this folk art form whilst making it all the more contemporary. Bhangra then became mainstream music in the international market, which further contoured the status of Indian music in the global arena. Artists like Gurdaas Maan, Malkit Sing, and troupes like Bhujungy Group, Apna, and Alaap contoured Bhangra whilst offering a comprehensive outline.
It is during the 90s amongst the Indian youths Bhangra became somewhat mainstream music. It was then pop, Jazz, and brass music all united with the beats of Bhangra to form that special kind of music, which revives even the most tired soul.
Nowadays Bhangra is just not a typical form of folk music but has become a particular form of Indian music, which has, broke the barriers of stage, pits, and galleries and has become the accepted form of expression of the mass.
Jago Dance, Punjab
Punjab’s Jago DanceLiterally, “wake up!” When there’s a marriage in the house, girls dance through the village streets carrying a pot (gaggar) decorated with lightened candles and singing jaagu songs. The theme of the song in the ‘Jago’ is social and typically a bit of teasing (often aimed at elders) goes with the song.
Facts Of Bhangra:
Lyrics of Bhangra
Bhangra lyrics cover social issues like love, relationships, marriages, alcohol. These also include Punjabi Independence Heroes like Bhagat Singh. A high, energetic voice is there while singing the couplets with lots of pomp and show. Dance is the main aspect of Bhangra rather than Music.
Costume of Bhangra Dancers
Men wrap a four to six-meter long Chadra or a silken cloth around the wrist along with the coat and the headgear. Long shirts known as Kurtas are also worn. Women, on the other hand, wear a Ghagra – a long skirt. Dupattas – the colorful veils are also worn by the women.
Garba dance is the one which hails from Saurashtra – one part out of the four parts of Gujarat. Garba songs are in praise of the Goddess Amba describing her Strength, power, and her beauty. Social Themes and seasons also make a part of the Garba Songs. Damru, Tabla, Nagara, pot drum, percussion, Ektaro, Ravan hattho, Jantar, Pavo, shehnai, Murli, Turi, and tutri are the musical instruments used in Garba Dance.
Sukhshinder Shinda, Inderjit Nikku, Jagmohan Kaur, Jasbir Jassi, and Jassi Premi Jas are some of the well known Bhangra Dancers.
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