Nothing binds this subcontinent more than its musical traditions, From Bhajan to Khayal and Qawwali to Rajasthani folk songs, while there is a rich diversity of forms of musical expression in every region, there is also an underlying thread of commonality of spirit.
So as India’s premier news magazine, India Today, completed a quarter century of documenting the life and joys of our great country, it held a unique and mammoth festival of music in the heart of Delhi’s Connaught Place to celebrate the event.
At a time when big, open air musical events are at a wane, The India Today Swarutsav 2000 spanned five sessions over four days comprising devotional music, the romantic semi classical genres, classical instrumental and Khayal, Sufi music and Creative Fusion. In the stunning open air ambience of a specially erected stage at the Central Park in Connaught Place, some of the best and leading musicians from across the subcontinent gathered to give electrifying performances to regale a huge audience comprising both connoisseurs and lay listeners. Swarutsav looks forward to becoming an annual event in India’s cultural calander.
As we promised at the time, Music Today is now proud to present the LIVE at SWARUTSAV 2000 series as a unique collectors’ item.
Music Today has since its inception been trying to reach the rich and vibrant folk music traditions of India to a wider audiences. In keeping with this practice, India Today Swar Utsav presented the vigorous and enchanting folk music of Rajasthan performed by Langa and Manganiar musicians. The endless expanse of the Thar desert has cradled a centuries old tradition of these two hereditary communities of professional musicians who have with their soaring voices and virtuoso instrumental performances livened every aspect of daily life and ritual of Rajasthan. Langas are part-time musicians who earn their livelihood also through spice and camel trade. The Manganiars are limited to the Jaisalmer area and are known for their prowess with instruments like the kamaicha and the khartaal besides their melodious singing. With their stylish turbans and extraordinary mustaches the Langas and the Manganiars have in recent years thrilled audiences all over the world.
At the India Today Swarutsav a judiciously chosen group of Langas and Manganiars were invited to perform. Their songs described the joys and travails of life in the unrelenting environment of the desert. They tell of the anxieties of lack of water, of longing for a husband who has gone in search of food for the family or cattle, appreciation of simple trinkets like a camel’s necklace apart from festive and ritual music to mark marriages and other important occasions. In the wide repertoire of the Langas one can see elements of the classical ragas and they are accompanied by instruments such as the sarangi, sarinda, satara, dholak, morchang and khartaal. The Manganiars sing long narrative ballads besides simpler, shorter ditties describing an occasion, an object or a human situation.
Hayat Khan Langa (vocal & sarangi); Ghazi Khan Manganiar (Kartaal); Fakir Khan Manganiar (dholak); Bundo Khan Langa (vocal); Hakim Manganiar (Kamaicha & vocal); Ghazi Khan Manganiar (vocal); Mehruddin Langa (morchang, satara, sarangi & vocal); Barkat Khan Manganiar (vocal & kamaicha).
India Today Swar Utsav invited Langa and Manganiar musicians to present the vibrant folk music of Rajasthan. The participating Langa musicians were Hayat Khan (vocal and sarangi) Bundu Khan (vocal) and Mehruddin (morchang, satara, sarangi and vocal). The Manganiar community was represented by Ghazi Khan (kartaal), Fakir Khan (dholak), Hakim (kamaicha and vocal), Barkat Khan (vocal and Kamaicha) and Ghazi Khan (vocal). The tracks include the peppy number Nimbuda Nimbuda which became a highly popular film song.