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The folk music of Uttarakhand refers to the traditional and contemporary songs of Kumaon and Garhwal regions in the foothills of Himalayas. This music has its root in nature and the hilly terrain of the region.

The folk songs of Uttarakhand are a reflection of the cultural heritage and the way people live their lives in the Himalayas. Common themes in the folk music include the beauty of nature, various seasons, festivals, religious traditions, cultural practices, folk stories, historical characters, the bravery of ancestors, and love ballads.

The folk songs sung in Uttarakhandi music include the dhol damau, Turri, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora and mashakbaja. Tabla and harmonium are also sometimes used, especially in recorded folk music from the 1960s onwards. In recent years, Uttarakhandi folk songs have transformed. Generic Indian and global musical instruments have been incorporated in modern popular folks by singers like Gajendra Rana, Narendra Singh Negi, Gopal Babu Goswami, Mohan Upreti, Chander Singh Rahi, etc. Modern themes include geopolitical issues affecting the region, humor, and nostalgia for the hills by the diaspora.

Traditional folk songs from the region, include ceremonial Mandal, Martial Panwara, Melancholy Khuder, Religious Jagar, Thadya, and Jhora.

Prominent folk artists of Uttarakhand

The earliest singers who were influential in the folk music of Uttarakhand are:

In the past decade Uttarakhandi music has seen a revolution as various music recording and cassette producing agencies such as Rama Video Cassettes, Neelam Cassettes, and T-Series, provide opportunities for young talents from local areas, to make their cassettes and to record their music. This has led to a sudden surge in the number of young talents from various corners of Uttarakhand, which include famous personalities such as Lalit Mohan Joshi, Manglesh Dangwal, Gajendra Rana, B. K. Samant, Kalpana Chauhan, Maya Upadhyaya, Anuradha Nirala and Deepak Chamoli. All the famous songs and albums from Uttarakhand include Fauji Lalit Mohan Joshi's "Maya Ki Yaad", "Tak Taka Tak Kamla"; Gajendra Rana's "Malu", "Rani Gorkhani", "Lila Ghasyari", "Pushpa"; Pritam Bhartwan's "Saruli" and "Rajuli"; Deepak Chamoli's Nirbhagi Corona & Hey Meri Swani.

Also, with an advance in the technology and easy availability of video cameras and other recording devices, many musicians produce albums, which has further led to the popularisation of the various folk dance forms of Uttarakhand. Kumaoni/Garhwali songs have gained so much popularity over the years that they have become an integral part of the DJ music played during weddings and other functions.

Traditional Music Instruments of Uttarakhand


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