For some it’s just a ceremony, for others it’s a regal affair in an opulent venue. Weddings in India are now extravagant affairs and it’s no longer kosher to exchange vows at a humble place or in an ancestral home. And, when it comes to destination weddings in India, one cannot forget the city of Jodhpur, famous for it’s scenic landscape and mesmerizing forts. A typical Rajasthani Wedding consists of various social customs, traditions and practices that reflect its royal charm. There are various attractions one can find in a Marwari Wedding like traditional elephant ride welcome, an authentic Rajasthani ambience, delicious cuisines, traditional attire, colourful atmosphere and above all the local folk music. Having hosted various weddings at Kasturi Orchid, Jodhpur, one thing which we find common is that the local folk music is the heart and soul of every Wedding. The music perfectly captures the people’s emotions and is enjoyed by everyone irrespective of the age and gender. Here are few glimpses of the local folk musicians at a Wedding at Kasturi Orchid, Jodhpur.
Going into the history, you’ll be amazed to know that Rajasthan has a diverse collection of musician castes, including langas, sapera, bhopa, jogi and Manganiar. Traditional music includes the women’s Panihari songs, which lyrically describes chores, especially centered on water and wells, both of which are an integral part of Rajasthan’s desert culture. Other songs, played by various castes, normally begin with the alap, which sets the tune and is followed by a recital of a couplet. The celebration of changing seasons is also very central to folk music of Rajasthan. Celebration of the coming of the Monsoons or the harvest season are central to most traditional folk songs. There are also songs that revolve around daily activities of the local people.
Music and dance are deeply engraved in the life of Rajasthanis. Some of the instruments frequently used in traditional Rajasthani folk music at Weddings are:
- Kamaicha: The Kamaicha is one of the oldest bowed musical instruments in the world. This instrument is made from a single piece of wood and its three main strings are made of goat intestine, while the fourteen others are made of steel. It is used extensively in Rajasthani folk music.
- Morchang: This wind percussion instrument, also called ‘morchang’ is another instrument used widely in Rajasthani folk music. To play this instrument, the player has to hold it firmly between the teeth and strike the metal tongue with the free hand. The movement of the player’s tongue, blowing and sucking of air through the instrument produces different sounds.
- Nagara: The Nagara is a type of folk kettle drum played with wooden sticks. During ancient times, they were usually played during important ceremonies. This instrument is usually accompanied by the Tasha and Shehnai.
- Ravanahatta: The Ravanahatta is a hand-made bow-string instrument, usually made by the artist himself. It is an important folk music instrument in Rajasthan and is made from bamboo and coconut shell. Ravanahatta players are called ‘Bhopas’ and belong to the Nayak, Bhil or Thori castes.
Having said that, one can get real experience only by attending such marriage.