Bihar Music

Bihar music is extremely rich and features a wide range of indigenous music forms specially in the folk form. Although classical music is widely practiced, it is the folk forms of Bihar music in which the ethos of the state is really represented. The folk forms of Bihar's music are as varied as the languages and the tribes inhabiting the region. Even though Magadhi, Maithili and Bhojpuri are the main linguistic groups, a wide range of regional dialects are employed in rendering the songs.

Music for the sake of aesthetic pleasure alone was relatively unknown in Bihar. Most folk forms of Bihar music are associated with some kind of a social or cultural activity. These activities can range from social occasions of significance like the birth of a child to an occupational activity like the laborious sowing of the paddy seed in the height of the North Indian summer. If sohar and sumangali belong to the first category of Bihar music, then ropnigeets and katnigeets belong to the second. Distinct classical influences are sometimes felt in some forms of folk music in Bihar like the Chaiti and the Kajri. These songs are much more devotional in nature and sometimes celebrate the season.

Music of Bihar are performed both by professional as well as the members of the family who get these songs through tradition. There are certain singing communities in Bihar who are like traveling minstrels. Kathaks, the singers in the Beer Kunwara tradition and the followers of Bhikhari Thakur fall within these categories.

More information on Bihar music

  • Sohar - It is an extremely popular folk form. Like all forms of folk music in Bihar, this form is integrally connected with a very significant event of social life - the birth of a child in the family. The folk songs of Bihar were seldom created for the sake of artistic expression by itself. Almost all folk forms have some kind of a social relevance connected to it. As such, they continue to be integrally connected to the lives of the people who participate in the performances and those who arrange for them and listen to them. Bihar's Sohar is also popular in the neighboring state of Jharkhand where they are sung much for the same purpose.

  • Sumangali - It employs tunes that have come down through the ages. Instrumentation, when used at all, are of an extremely simple and traditional kind. The auspicious nature of this ritualistic songs is never lost. The newly wed are blessed on their way to a new life. Being sung specifically by women, like marriage songs in most place around the world, they take up great significance as they are often used to voice anxieties and dissents of women within a largely patriarchal society.

  • Ropnigeet - Ropnigeet of Bihar is a prominent folk song of the state. It is basically a work song sung in groups. Ropnigeet is associated with the activity of sowing paddy seeds, the sowing of which is more than a simple agricultural activity in Bihar. It is associated with hope, rejuvenation and the beginning of a new working season for the largely poor farmers of Bihar. It was these simple, humble and largely illiterate farmers who spontaneously founded this wonderful folk form to celebrate the occasion and ease their labor.

  • Katnigeet - Katnigeet of Bihar is a folk music form that is associated with the harvesting of paddy in the state. It is a work song and as integral a part of Bihar's folk culture as rice itself is in the lives of the inhabitants of the Gangetic plains of Bihar. The poor rural people of Bihar have a tendency to commemorate every sphere of their activity with music and dances. These musical expressions provide entertainment and also help them to face the harsh realities of life. Bihar's Katnigeet is no exception. If the Ropnigeet is sung to celebrate the sowing of paddy seeds in the middle of high summer, then Katnigeet celebrates the successful completion of the process. It is a noble folk form which exalts the new harvest which becomes a symbol of prosperity and plenty.

Last Updated on 14 june 2013