Jharkhand Music

Jharkhand music is largely tribal in nature. It shares many points of commonality with the folk music of Bihar and the music of the neighboring districts of West Bengal with a wide tribal populace like Purulia and Bankura.

Like most forms of tribal art, most of the music of Jharkhand is not merely entertainment, although that aspect always remains there, but have great ritualistic and social significance to it. Songs and dances both go hand in hand in Jharkhand musical art.

Jharkhand Tribal Music

Tribal music plays a very important role in the overall scenario of the music at Jharkhand. Some of the major forms of tribal songs from Jharkhand are:
  • Dohari Domkach
  • Janani Jhumar
  • Jhumta
  • Pratkali
  • Daidhara
  • Mardana
  • Janani
  • Dohari Domkach

Dances also feature prominently in Jharkhand musical art. Some of the major forms of dances in Jharkhand are:
  • Natua
  • Jadur
  • Nachni
  • Agni
  • Ghatwari
  • Jamda
The forms of tribal music in Jharkhand are absolutely indigenous and have continued in the same way for time immemorial. The musical instruments, the dancing steps, the vocal inflections all have their unique flavors. However it should be remembered that most of Jharkhand musical performances are group performances, since solo performances are virtually unknown within the tribal musical aesthetics.

Social Significance of Jharkhand Music

Jharkhand music does not always necessarily play the role that is purely entertainment. More often than not, they have some ritualistic and social significance attached to them. Sometime they commemorate some tribal incidence of tribal significance and sometime they provide social commentary.

In fact, music has often acted as the voice of protest against oppression and has worked as important political tools. However, more often the themes are religious and draw from the mythological canon of tales and stories as subjects of representation.

Jhumar is one of the major folk forms of Jharkhand. Jhumar in Jharkhand share a lot with the Jhumar forms of the Purulia and the Bankura districts of West Bengal and also some of the neighboring states of Bihar. It is mainly practiced by the members of the Santhal community and performs clear ritualistic functions. Jhumar is typically a folk performance, performed to the accompaniment of traditional instruments like tribal drums called madals and singas. They are performed on important social and religious functions and usually deals with the theme of love and romance.

Performance Style of Jhumar

Jhumar essentially consists of a group performance in its original form. Although at times, they can be performed by a solo singer, however, that is a much recent development in the form of the Jhumar at Jharkhand. The name derives from the word 'jhum', meaning swaying to a particular rhythm. The rhythmic aspect is therefore quite strong in a Jhumar performance. The main singer is accompanied by a chorus and music that is essentially rural and tribal in nature. The dancers sway in time to the intoxicating rhythms produced by the musical instruments. The themes of Jhumar at Jharkhand deal with love and romance. However, there are times they can take on a more political color and be used to protest against oppressions and injustices meted out to these simple and joyous group of people. Jhumar in Jharkhand is typically performed on days of special religious and social significance. However, Jhumar recitals can be arranged even outside the appointed days. It is a great way for the tribal people to forget the hardships and the problems of their daily lives.

Last Updated on : 25th March 2013