Music And Dance of Bihar

Folk Songs of Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

The folk songs of Bihar are very popular. They are sung on all important occasions, festivals and show the rich cultural tradition of Bihar. They are handed down verbally from one generation to the other. Some Ragas are special to Bihar and these are Nachari, Phag, Chaita, Purbi, Lagani, etc. In ancient times, Vaishali and Rajgir were the places famous for dance and music. The folk songs of Bihar are divided into various categories. They are :

Sanskar Geet

These songs are sung on special occasions like birth,marriage,mundan, kohbar, beti-vidai, gauna, etc. These songs :

Domkach It is sung during marriage by the females of the groom’s family.

Sohar It is sung on the occasion of birth of a son. In Magadh and Bhojpur it is accompanied with Pavaria dance. In Bhojpuri dialect, Sohar means feeling good. It has different names in different regions like Somar, Sohla, Sohilo or Sogar.

Samdaoni It is called Samdaoni in Mithila, Samdavan in Bhojpur and Samdan in Magadh. It is sung on the occasion when the girl goes to her husband’s house after marriage.

Ragas

The following ragas are sung on special occasions in Bihar:

➤ In Mithila region, songs in Lagani Raga are sung on the occasion of marriage. These songs are penned by Vidyapati.

➤ The Nachari Raga is used to sing prayers of Lord Shiva. The songs were created by famous poet Vidyapati. They are very popular in Bihar.

➤ Songs in Chaita Raga are sung on the occasion of Holi as the festival is followed by the month of Chaitra. It is popular in Patna, Bhojpur, Buxar, Rohtas.

➤ Purbi Raga is popular in Saran district. The songs in this raga expresses the pain of wives when they are away from their husbands.

➤ Songs in Phag Raga are sung in the Phalgun month during the celebration of Holi festival. It is very popular in Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj, Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, East and West Champaran.

Ballad Songs

These songs are sung on the hitorical ballads or other stories that are popular in Bihar. They can be categorised as follows:

Historical Ballad These are the songs that speak about the heroic deeds of freedom fighter Kunwar Sing, Raja Vijaymal.

Lorikayan Song It is folk song of Veer rasa where events from the life of Lorik are described. It is basically performed by Ahir people, as the hero of the song Lorik belongs to Ahir community. This is more popular in Bhojpur,Maithili and Magahi.

Dina Bhadri It is folk song involving Veer Rasa where bravery of two brothers Dina and Bhadri is described. They belonged to Mushar tribe.

Vijaymal Geet This is quite popular folk tale throughout the state. It is about how King Vijaymal is able to free his father, his wife and other people taking part in a marriage procession from the evil clutches of king Dhurmal Singh. It describes the bravery of Vijaymal and the entire tale is sung with quite enthusiasm.

Nayka-Banjara This folk lore revolves around the hero ‘Shomyanik’who is a businessmen and his wife. This is a folk tale of love and subsequent separation of Shomyanik and his wife. It is quite popular in the folk tales of Bihar.

Noonachar This folk tale is popular in Maithili region. It also speaks about bravery of a king and how he faced the difficult circumstances of his life. The Noonachar folk tale is similar to Chatri Chauhan of Magahi region and Dhudli Ghatma of Angika region.

Raja Harichan Geet This relates to Raja Harichandra who is also known as Harish Chandra. Raja Harish Chandra’s son, Rohitashva was the king of Rohtasgarh. So the folk tale is quite popular in Rohtas region as well as in the entire state. The folk tales of Raja Harichan Geet are sung according to the different characters of the story and is also connected with Mordhwajh Geet. People singing this folk song are called as Netua.

Dhudli Ghatma This folk tale is popular in Angika region and is also known as Dhudli Bateria in Champaran region and Rai Ranpal in Darbhanga region. It is a tale about bravery.

The hero of this story Dhudli takes revenge of his father’s untimely death by killing those who were responsible for it.He makes careful plans and kills his maternal uncle Ghatma and his seven sons who were behind his father’s murder. It is quite popular in Bihar.

Chatri Chauhan Geet This is about how a king ‘Chatri Chauhan’ takes revenge of his father’s murder by killing the person responsible for it. This folk tale is about bravery and very popular in Magahi.

Kunwar Brajbhar Geet This folk song is also known as Sorthi Brajbhar. It is popular in Bihar and other adjoining regions. The nature of this folk song is religious and thrilling. It talks about the brave deeds of Kunwar Brajbhar.

Amar Singh Bariya Geet This folk tale relates to bravery of Amar Singh Bariya.He killed the King Upmar of Tirhut who badly exploited the people of his kingdom.

Amar Singh worshipped Kamla Mai and Kamla Mai gave him the strength to defeat king Upmar.

Seasonal Songs

Some songs are sung according to various seasons and are related to arrival of the seasons. They are sung in Holi / Fagua, Chaitra, Kajali,Hindola, Chaturmasa, Barahmasa, etc.

Festival Songs

These songs are sung on the occasion of some festival like Chhath, Teej, Nagpanchami,Nahura,Godhan, Pidia,Deepawali,Madhu-Shravani, Ram Navami, Krishna Ashtami, etc. These songs are sung by both males and females.

Occupational Songs

These folk songs are mainly sung in rural Bihar. The main occupation in rural Bihar is agriculture. Therefore all the occupational folk songs of Bihar are related to agriculture. These songs :

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 an integral part of Bihar’s folk culture. 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 helps them to face the harsh realities of life. Bihar’s Katnigeet has 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.

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 labour.

Other Songs

Bhajan It include songs of Gram Devta, Shitla mata,Nirguna and other religious songs.

Sumangali These songs are associated with wedding. These are sung specifically by women, like marriage songs in most places 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.

Pachra It is a kind of prayer song, usually sung to please Seetala Mata. She is considered as the Goddess of ‘Chechak’ or small pox. This song is sung when someone is suffering from small pox.

Folk Dances of Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

Folk dances are liked and forms a major means of entertainment in rural Bihar.

There are many different types of dances. They are performed during festivals, special occasions and rituals.

Over thousands of years, various traditional dance forms have evolved in Bihar.Most of the folk dances are religious in nature in which,Gods and Goddesses are invoked through dance, performed to the rythm of folk songs and music. The popular ones are described as follows:

Kathghorwa Dance

This dance form is very popular. It is basically done in marriage ceremonies.Horse back made of wood and painted with varied colours is tied down by the dancer who performes it in very interesting manner along with the use of musical instruments.

Bideshiya Dance

It is the most popular folk dance of Bihar which has originated in 20th century. It is also regarded as theatre form.On this dance, the female roles are played by the male actor-dancers.

This dance theatre form originated in 20th century mainly by Bhikari Thakur’s effort. Bhikhari Thakur is known as the Kalidas of Bihar.He raised conflicting issues of the society like differences between rich and the poor, upper class and lower class, upper caste and lower caste and urban and rural.

Pawadia Dance

This is basically done by male members at the birth of a child. They wear costume of females and use dhol,manjira, etc as musical instruments.

Vidyapati Dance

This is basically done in Purnia andMithila region in which dancers sing Poet Vidyapati’s poems in song form. They also perform dance along with singing.

Dhobia Dance

This is done at the time of marriage ceremonies by Dhobi community in a group form. This is basically carried in Bhojpur district. The dancers use to dance with the tune of musical instruments and also sing songs.

Jogira Dance

This is a popular dance performed basically in rural areas during the festival of Holi.

Young boys and girls dance to the beats of drum and make the atmosphere lively. It is a celebration of the spring season.

Jat-Jatin Dance

This is performed by ladies in moonlight in the month of Shravan to Kartik.This dance form is a very good source of entertainment for rural folk.Mostly, this is performed by unmarried girls.Two groups are divided and one group becomes Jat or groom side and other group Jatin or bride side.They sing, act and perform all the scenes of marriage and of married life.This folk dance depicts rural life of this area in good deal. This dance is particularly popular in Mayurbhanj region.

Kariya Jhumar Dance

This is performed by ladies on auspicious occasion especially marriage ceremonies.

Ladies dance in circle by taking hand in hand. It is popular in Mithila region.

Launda Dance

This is performed by boys wearing colourful attire of ladies on auspicious occasion mainly marriage ceremonies. This dance teases people and compels them to give money and other articles. This is basically popular in Bhojpur and its surroundings.

Jhumari Dance

The Jhumari dance of Bihar is similar to that of ‘Garba of Gujarat’. It is performed by married women. It is performed after the month of Ashwin, in Kartik when the sky is clear and weather is pleasant. The dance signifies good omen and is performed mainly in Mithila. The dance marks the change of seasons.

Karma Dance

This is basically famous in tribal people who perform them at the time of sowing and harvesting. It is mainly perform in order to give tribute to the Karma tree which is the sign of fertility in Bihar. This is a group dance in which both ladies and gents move in circular form and dance together to the beats of drum. This dance is also accompanied by cymbals, flute and turhi.

Jhi Jhian Dance

➤ It is a ritualistic dance, that is performed during no rain and the land is Sun parched.

➤ The motive of this dance is to lenify the God of rain, Lord Indra and ask for his favour in the form of rain.

➤ The participants of the dance include a lead singer, harmonium player and a dholak player. This dance is only performed by women.

Kajari Dance

This is a combination of song and dance sung at the start of the rainy season during the month of Shravan. These songs sing about the rains, about green colour prevalent everywhere and about the relaxation and respite rain bring from the immense heat.

Other Folk Dances

Some of the otherfolk dances of Bihar :

Dance

Description

Basanti dance

It is performed by ladies during spring season.

Bolwe dance

It is performed by ladies when their husband go to far off places.

Domkach dance

It is performed by men by enacting roles of dominant caste in Mithila region.

Gangia dance

It is performed by ladies praise of River Ganga.

Ghan-Katni dance

It is performed by farmers during harvest season.

Holi dance

It is a dance performed in a typical style known as ‘Dhamar’ with accompaniment of musical instruments like dholak, jhal-manjheera, etc.

Jharni dance

It is done by Muslim community during Muharram to express sorrow feelings.

Jogira dance

It is a Holi dance performed in rural areas.

Kholdin dance

It is performed by dancers during marriage.

Kirtaniya dance

It is a devotional dance enacting Krishan Leela accompanied by harmonium, dhol, manjira, etc

Manjhi dance

It is performed by boatmen.

Sohar-Khilouna dance

This dance is performed at the birth of child.

Famous Folk Song Writers and Singers (Bihar GK in English)

Bihar has produced several writers and singers who have taken initiative to develop this art form. These writers and singers :

Bhikari ThakurHe was popular as a folk song writer and a singer.He also wrote many popular dramas in the Saran region.He is renowned for his eminent folk songs known as ‘Bideshiya’which are popular all over Bihar.

Mahakavi VidyapatiHe was an eminent folk song writer from Bihar.He was renowed writer who wrote several folk songs about bravery, heroism, tradition and social behaviours. The period of his writings is also known as Golden Age in the history of folk songs of Bihar.He is also known as Maithili Kavi Kokil and his songs are mostly popular in Maithili region.

Other Folk Singers There are several other folk singers from Bihar who have enriched the state with their works. They are Dr Shankar Prasad,Nandkishore Prasad, Vishnu Prasad Sinha, Sharda Sinha,Motilal Manjul, Vindhya Vasini Devi, Bharat Singh Bharti, Brajkishore Dubey, Kavita Chaudhary, Kumud, Akhori, Albela, Ajit Kumar Akela, Bharat Sharma, Shambhu Rai, Renuka Sahay, Lalita Jha, Umakant Kamal, etc.

Eminent Playwrights from Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

In Hindi language Rambriksha Benipuri, Raja Rahika Raman Prasad Singh, Janardan Ray, Jagdish Chandra Mathur, Robin Shaw Pushp, Jitendra Sahay, Radhakrishna Sahay,Himanshu Shekhar Jha, Prafulla Chandra Ojha, Javed Akhtar, Navin Chandra Singh, Swaran Kiran, Anil Patang, Siyaram Sharan Prasad.

InMagahi Language Satish Chandra Mishra, Ashok Priyadarshi.

In Bhojpuri Language Rameshwar Singh Kashyap, Kapil Dev Singh.

InMaithili Language Kunal Sudhir Shekhar Chaudhari,Gorikant Chaudhari, Gobind Jha.

Bihar Theatre Groups

Place

Organisation

Mahnar

Anant Abhinay Kala Parishad

Danapur

Bahurupia, Bahurang

Bihiya

Bharat Natya Parishad

Khagaul

Bhumika, Darpan Kala Kendra, Manthan Kala Parishad, Sutradhar

Sultanganj

Janchetna

Patna

Kala Nikunj, Akshara Arts, KalaTriveni, Anamika, Sarjana, Bhangima, Bihar Art Theatre, Kala Sangam, Bharatiya Jana Natya Sangh

Gaya

Kala-nidhi, Shabnam Arts, Lalit Kala Manch, Natya Stuti

Arrah

Kamayani, Yavnika, Bhojpur Manch, Nati, Navodya Sangh

Chhapra

Mayur Kala Kendra, Shivam Sanskritik Manch, Hind Kala Kendra, Manorama Sanskritik Dal, Indrajal

Aurangabad

Natya Bharti, Actors Group

Buxar

Navrang Kala Manch

Sasaram

Nirala Club

Place

Organisation

Muzaffarpur

Rang

Jamalpur

Roberts Recreation Club, Utsav

Bhagalpur

Sarjana, Disha, Prem Arts, Abhinay Kala Mandir

Nawada

Shobadi Rang Organisation

Begusarai

Zila Natya Parishad, Saraswati Kala Mandir

Folk Drama in Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

The folk dramas are extremely popular in Bihar. They are presented by way of song, dance and short lyrical verses or poems. The dramas enact various scenes from epics.

They also show normal day to day life. Folk dramas in Bihar are enacted during special occasions, religious ceremonies, etc. The popular folk theatres of Bihar are :

Bhakuli-Banka This is performed in the month from Shravan to Kartik. This is almost similar in form that of Jat-Jatin.However, the theme depicts rural life. Anka, Banka, Tihuli and Bhakuli are its role names. The folk drama depicts the simple rural life of Bihar. It is one of the popular theatre forms in Bihar.

Domkach This dance drama is performed in Mithila region. It is done by females.

Initially, it was done by house maids who worked in the house of rich people but now it is done by all classes of people. The drama is basically done for entertainment. Kach means to mimic, so the entire dance drama is based on mimicry and creating scences of laughter.

Kirtaniya The Kirtaniya depicts the devotion towards Sri Krishna. The dance drama shows ‘Krishna Leela’ i.e. various aspects from the mortal life of Lord Krishna. The dance drama is accompanied by singing, dancing and playing of musical instruments like dholak, harmonium, etc. It started during the end of Bhakti period and is very popular in Bihar. It depicts people devotion and endying faith in Lord Krishna.

Sama Chakeva This is basically organised in Kartik month (October-November), from Shukla Paksha Saptami till Purnima. This theatre form uses question-answer form for dancing.Unmarried girls basically perform it. This folk theatre is held for eight days. It is deeply related to nature. Its main theme is to protect the migratory birds and nature.

Dramatists from Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

There are a number of writers from Bihar who have written excellent dramas, songs, dance dramas that depicts many aspects of Bihar. The dramatists and playwrighters from Bihar mainly write in Hindi language. Some of them have written plays in Magahi, Bhojpuri and Maithili languages also.

Modern theatre developed in Bihar from 1960s, Satish Anand is considered to be the pioneer of modern theatre in Bihar.He established a theatre group Kala Sangam in 1962 in Patna.Many popular plays were staged at Kala Sangam like Andha Yug, Merjeeva, Adhe Adhure, Ashadh Ka ek din, Lahron ke Rajhans, Baki Itihas, etc.

The street theatre in Bihar was also introduced by Satish Anand in 1975.

Famous Dramatists from Bihar

The people who have carved out a niche in the world of theatre in Bihar are Anil Mukherjee, Lalit Kumar Singh, Akhileshwar Prasad Sinha, Pyare Mohan Sahay, Ajit Ganguly, Shyam Mohan Aasthana, Satya Sehgal,Malti Lata Sinha, Pushpa Aryani, Shanti Devi, Avtar Singh,Meeta Srivastava, Ajay Malkani, Ratna Bhattacharya, Devbhani Chaudhary, Parvez Akhtar,Noor Fatima, Cyril Mathew, etc.

Directorate of Cultural Affairs (Bihar GK in English)

It was constituted in 1986 to preserve and develop the art and culture of Bihar in different zones. The objectives of Directorate of Cultural Affairs are given below :

➤ To encourage and promote study and research in the fields of Music, Dance, Drama, Painting and other Fine Arts and applied arts.

➤ To encourage artists and organisations to achieve artistic excellence by organising competitions and awarding prizes and distinctions.

➤ To encourage the Theatre Centers for performing arts for children and rural folk in different places and to ensure co-operation among such centers already in existence.

➤ To encourage development of amateur dramatic activity to sponsor Music, Dance and Drama festivals and to hold exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture. To encourage the setting up of institutions to provide training and research in various fields of Art.

➤ To encourage and foster the revival and development of vanishing art form.

➤ To pursue such other activities and programmes that would strengthen and promote the cultural inter linkage amongst different cultural zones of the state such as Mithila, Magadh, Bhojpur, Vajjika and Angika.

➤ To achieve the above aims and objects, we have two academies such as Bihar Sangeet Natak Academy and Bihar Lalit Kala Academy. Different schemes of the directorate are Grant Scheme, Artist Aid Fund and Awards.