Punjab is known to have one of the most diverse and expressive culture in India and the Music and dance is an important component for showcasing it. The dances of Punjab are the most energetic forms of performing arts that you will ever witness. The synchronization found in the dances is simply outstanding. Almost all dances of the state are accompanied with a dhol. There are no dances where men and women dance together. Bhangra is for men whereas Giddha is performed by women.
Bhangra – The Dance of Beats
The Bhangra dance of Punjab is associated with fairs, festivals, marriages and harvesting. The Bhangra is danced by men for all happy occasions.Traditionally, Bhangra was a mix of high tempo dance steps, songs and music instruments like Dhol, iktar (a single stringed instrument) and chimta. The songs sung along with the dance are generally based on themes like love, patriotism, or pertaining to social issues. Today, Bhangra tunes fused with hip hop or reggae are quite a craze in clubs and discos. The performers wear a Kurta along with a vest over it. They also flaunt well made turbans of different colors.
Giddha is the most favorite dance of Punjabi women and it is danced at weddings, at the birth of a child, the Teej Festival and other happy occasions.The performers stand in a circle forming a ring. One women sits in the center of the ring and plays the Dhol. The best thing about the dance is that there are no hard and fast rules to which the dancers have to perform. They dance according the tune and rhythm. Through Gidda, the different phases in the life of Punjabi women are depicted.
Kikli – A Magical Marigo Round with Companion
Kikli is as much a game form as it is a dance. That is why it is far more popular among younger girls. Kikli too is essentially a women dance. In this dance, girls form pairs and stand facing each other. They hold each other’s hand in a crossed manner and stand on their toes. They then start moving in a circular motion slowly gathering momentum. Along with rotating, they keep singing songs related to father, mother, relatives and about incidences of their lives.
Jhoomer is a distinctive folk dance of Southern Punjab of the pre-partition days performed by men to a specific jhoomer rhythm. The name is derived from ghoomer i.e. performance in a circle or spinning around. The dancers make a circle around the drummer (Dholi). The dress is mostly white.
This traditional tribal folk dance was performed by women in the Sandalbar region now in Pakistan. Sammi is danced to the beat of the Dhol. The traditional percussion instrument of Punjab. Its songs reflect the tender human emotions, happiness and sorrows of day-to-day life.
Gatka (Martial Art)
The unique and separate art has been made an advanced art. The art besides practised in religious & conference and related to Sikh Guru and Nagar Kirtans (Processions), where it is played according to rules of open space. In this, the use of traditional weapons and acts, like sword, shield, lance, sticks (6 feet long), a ‘fri sotte’ (Shield and Stick, 3 feet long) and dagger, balls of iron tied to a chain, Pattas etc. In playing Gatka, ti instill igour, the use of Drum, Nagara and Narsingha is made.
Sikh music (Shabad keertan) began in the 16th century as the musical expression of mystical poetry conceived by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. Following him, all the Sikh Gurus sang in the then-prevalent classical and folk music styles, accompanied by stringed and percussion instruments. The classical style was the devotional dhrupad style, where the text was of prime significance and the music played a supporting albeit important role. The Gurus specified the raags in which they sang each hymn in the Sikh sacred scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, which is organized by the 62 raags that were used. Out of these, 31 are main raags, and 31 are variant raags. Several of these raags are unique to the Sikh music tradition.
Punjabi Folk Music
Punjabi folk music is unlike any other you would have ever heard. There is no complications, no exaggerations, but still the tune and rhythm of the songs, takes you into a different world. There are many famous Punjabi singers who have earned name and fame in not only India but other countries as well, Especially in U.K, where Punjabi music is regular in clubs and discos.