Folk music is essential for the advancement of ethnomusicology. In addition, India has a long history of folk music. Due to the extreme cultural diversity, there is an infinite number of folk styles to choose from. Rajasthan’s music has its own unique charm. Rajasthan’s rich musical heritage has generated a plethora of world-class performers, singers, artists, and songs. Rajasthan’s music, in and of itself, has the power to describe the state’s diversity and heritage.
Manganiyars are a popular musical group in Rajasthan. Manganiyar is a Rajasthani ancestral community that makes a living as a musician. Manganiyars are Muslim folk musicians from Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jalore, Jodhpur, and other western Rajasthan districts. Patrons have provided music to the Manganiyar or Mirasi culture. Previously, their patrons often perform musical services in exchange for cattle, gold, or presents.
Here are some of the interesting traditions of Mirasi folk musicians.
Sings praise secularly
The manganiyar musicians are mostly Muslims, but they have a lot of support from Rajasthan’s Rajputs and other elite groups. The community used to dedicate the music to the families, lives, and stories of the royal class. It helps the communities in enjoying and creating the rich heritage during their reign. The manganiyar musicians sing songs and praises for great Sufi as well as for Lord Krishna. Their praises include the music and writings for all the great souls. This has made the community more respectable and famous in their initial era.
An indispensable component of society
These virtuoso musicians used to play and sing the music describing the heritage and history of Rajasthan. They cover the interests, hobbies, and lifestyles of the communities and maharajas residing in those areas. The Mirasi music is part of every function, celebration, event, wedding, or any particular public gatherings. These music tribes were booked in advance and were called to different parts of the country. Any celebration or public event was incomplete without adding the flavor of the Manganiyar folk music. The various songs were played depicting the love of a wife for husband, in praise of gods, Maharajas, played during the birth of a child, and at many other events.
A rich base of folk music instruments
The specialty of the manganiyar singing tribe is that they include various forms of music and play instruments to give a unique style and auro to Rajasthani music. The Mirasis were highly proficient and skilled in playing different instruments that are soothing to the ears. The different instruments played by the community are Kamaycha, khartal, harmonium, dholak, morchang, halaria. These different instruments are played differently in sync to produce various types of melodies.
Current scenario of Manganiyar music folks
Nowadays, these manganiyars singing communities have reached from the village events to the world’s biggest stages. Manganiyar folk music is popular and loved all around the world. It has given name, fame, and pride to not only the state but to the country. These folk musicians are in high demand for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is their distinct voices and instruments but also for the culture that they reflect, diversify, and praise in their music.