Traditional songs of Uttarakhand usually describe the stunning scenery of the area and recount stories of the lifestyle and culture of its inhabitants. Songs like ‘Chali bhe motor chali’, ‘Ta chumata’, ‘Bedu pako baramasa’ and ‘Ae ja re bhanumati’ are very popular. These songs bring to life the history and values of the people living here, sometimes with a touch of humor and satire. They are major contributors to the continuation of the traditional music culture in Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand has been the home to many incredible singers like Narendra Singh Negi, Gopal Babu Goswami, Chander Singh Rahi, Anuradha Nirala, Meena Rana, Gajendra Rana, Pritam Bharwan, Sangeeta Dhoundiyal, Priyanka Meher and Anil Bisht.
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Some of the prominent and renowned singers from Uttarakhand
- Narendra Singh Negi is a renowned singer-songwriter from Uttarakhand. His reputation is built on his folk and spiritual songs, which he performs across India and abroad.
- Gopal Babu Goswami is a celebrated singer with a wide range of folk and classical music. He plays the banjo, guitar, and violin, amongst other instruments.
- Nandalal Ranwrey, a renowned musician and singer from Uttarakhand, is widely admired for his traditional and classical styles of music. He has numerous collaborations with renowned musicians in India.
- Bhagirath Kailsh is a folk singer from Uttarakhand, renowned for his strong and mesmerizing singing. He has expertise in Jaunsari music and is frequently seen on television.
- Kailash Kher is a renowned folk singer from Padhar, a village in Uttarakhand. His singing has a soulful voice and is unlike any other style.
- Annu Maharaaj, who hails from Uttarakhand, is a venerated folk singer who sings a multitude of music, from traditional Garhwali to Kumaoni songs.
- Brijesh Khanduri is an acclaimed musician and vocalist from Uttarakhand, who plays the sitar and performs fusion music.
- Thakur Singharain is a classical singer who has a strong connection to the small village of Uttarakhand. He has a deep understanding of more than 25 instruments and is an expert in traditional folk and spirituals. His amazing voice and heartfelt music have made him famous.
- Geetanjali is a traditional folk musician from Uttarakhand and is praised for her sweet-sounding singing. She sings mainly in Pahari and Garhwali languages.
- Devendra Singh Rawat is celebrated as one of the most prolific folk singers in the region.
- Purnima Joshi is famous for her sweet singing of traditional Kumaoni and Garhwali folk songs.
- Prabha Thapa is renowned for her lively performances of classic Nepali tunes.
- Pushkin Agrawal is a favored Bollywood playback singer with accolades for his musical talent.
- Govind Ram Sharma is renowned for his moving performances of Garhwali music.
- Shweta Pandey is a famous devotional singer celebrated for her melodic interpretations of Bhakti songs.
- Harshit Saxena is a popular folk artist from Uttarakhand. He has become a well-known name in the Hindi music industry and has released many albums, such as ‘Supne’.
- Babeet Nautiya, whose style of singing is often called “Modern Kumaon Folk”. He has released several albums, such as ‘Rehne De’.
- Papon, the Indian singer-songwriter, hails from the state of Uttarakhand and is known for his work in the Bollywood music industry. He has released several albums, such as ‘Bhanwarey’.
- Rakesh Kala is an Indian singer who is known for his unique style of singing called “Heritage Fusion”. He has released many albums, such as ‘Kalka Maiya Ki’.
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Thali Jadda Jhainta
The Thali is a graceful dance only for women, while the Jadda and Jhainta are dances where males and females dance together with wild enthusiasm. The entire region has a colorful range of folk dancing. Even after a long day of labor, the Kumaonis have strength that allows them to dance. Dance and music are key elements of their life, helping to satisfy their emotional and social needs, with dancing keeping them feeling young and vibrant. The Kumaonis have proven this old saying correct.
Shotiya Tribal Dances
Shotiya Tribal Dances are the special dances of Bhotiya tribal. Some of the popular Shotiya tribal dance forms are Dhurang and Dhuring, which are associated with death ceremonies. The Bhotiya tribe believed that the soul of the deceased resided in the body of a goat or another creature, and they sought to free it. This dance is similar to the pastorals of Himachal Pradesh or the hunting dance of Nagaland.
Ramola dance is a popular folk dance form from Kumaon region. The people of Kumaon are filled with joy when Spring comes. Bards, moving from location to location, talk about its beauty while playing a sarangi or dholak: “Oh my love, oh my beloved, Spring has secretly arrived. Let's go quickly to the valley of flowers to play the Phag together. People come together during the Holi festival, leaving their worries behind and engaging in a month-long celebration, singing hundreds of classical, semiclassical, and folk songs, accompanied by the Harmonium, Tabla, Dholak and Manzira (cymbals).
Pandav Nritya, a well-known folk dance of Uttarakhand, is presented throughout the state’s Kumaon area. It is called after the Pandavas, a group of five brothers who appear in the Mahabharata, a famous Hindu epic. A group of people who are dressed like the Pandavas in elaborate masks and costumes perform the dance. They also carry swords and shields, which they used to act out scenarios from the Mahabharata during the dance.
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