A Rajasthani Oasis in Singapore

Manganiyar performers- Bhungar Khan and his company transported the charismatic energy of folk music from the desert regions of western Rajasthan to Singapore at Kalaa Utsavam. From Kabir’s bhajan to wedding songs to a jugalbandi of instruments dholak and morchang,  and dance by Kabiliya dancers, the group made hearts sing at Esplanade.

Manganiyars is a community of court musicians that enjoyed royal patronage in earlier times.  As the root of the name ‘mangan’ suggests, they sought alms for their music. Their special style of folk music called Jangra is a universe of songs for all occasions of life.
Manganiyars is a community of court musicians that enjoyed royal patronage in earlier times. As the root of the name ‘mangan’ suggests, they sought alms for their music. Their special style of folk music called Jangra is a universe of songs for all occasions of life. Photo courtesy: IndieStrings
The performance began with Kabir’s
The performance began with Kabir’s "Vari jaun re, balihari jaun re…" The Manganiyars converted to Islam some 400 years ago. Their music is secular. Photo: Connected to India
Kamaycha instrument has a big, circular resonator and produces a deep booming sound.
Kamaycha instrument has a big, circular resonator and produces a deep booming sound. Photo courtesy: IndieStrings
Two members of the Kalbeliya community showcase Kalbeliya dance.
Two members of the Kalbeliya community showcase Kalbeliya dance. Photo courtesy: IndieStrings
The Kalbeliya community are nomadic snake charmers from the deserts of Rajasthan.
The Kalbeliya community are nomadic snake charmers from the deserts of Rajasthan. Photo: Connected to India
Their dance movements and costumes bear a resemblance to that of serpents.
Their dance movements and costumes bear a resemblance to that of serpents. Photo courtesy: IndieStrings
The Kalbeliya art form has been in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010.
The Kalbeliya art form has been in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010. Photo: Connected to India

 

Author
Sunanda Verma
Sunanda Verma – Senior Writer

Sunanda is a writer-journalist. In a previous avatar she worked as a Prime Time and Special shows TV News Producer with Star News (now ABP), Zee News and TV Today Networks. She enjoys deciphering cultural codes across nationalities, age groups and gender. Sunanda celebrates inspiration, and her writings take such stories beyond geographical, cultural, social or religious boundaries. 

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