Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Kumaon Holi with musical Hues.

The musical Holi started in the court of Chand kings in 15th century in Chamapawat, Kumaon where the musical traditions of Braj mixed with Kumaoni musical traditions paved the way for this unique celebration. With the spread of Chand rule and integration of Kumaon under them the Holi traditions spread all across Kumaon and acquired their distinct Kumaoni flavour.

 Holi actually starts with the Aaamla Ikadasi (11 th day of the month of Falgun of Indian Lunar Calendar, Shukl Paksh) on which the new clothes for gods and for the family members are consecrated with colour. From this day the musical Holi starts in the form of Baithaki holi,( sitting in holi) Khari holi (Standing Holi)and Mahila holi (Lady's Holi)
Baithaki holi is started by the professional holiyars in temples and then conducted at the homes of people or in community centers to the accompaniment of harmonium and sometimes table . These songs are based on classical Hindustani music but imbibed with local kumaoni flavor 
'समुझाय रही राधा नन्द, नन्द कुवर समुझय, होली खेलो फागुन ऋतु आयी'

 The khari holi is sung by groups of men who go in groups called Tolis and sing the traditionally vibrant and frolicsome holi songs again based on ragas, to the accompaniment of the musical instruments hurka, dhol and majeera. As they move from house to house they shower blessing and musical notes on each dwellings. They are greeted with holi snacks and gulal and the performance eagerly watched. Some famous songs are 
'झनकारो झनकारो झनकारो and जोगी आयो शहर में व्योपारी'
The Mahila holi is conducted at homes where women sing songs of holi which are on the life of lord Krishna and his consort. Some songs also border on the boisterous as women dress up as men in guise calledSwaang’, much gaiety and laughter the hallmark of such ‘Swaang', often borrowed trousers and shirts of the husband being donned by the women who have never been seen other than in a saree.

The musical traditions of the Holi in Kumaon give it a flavor that is unique, one in which it’s the words that are emblazoned with colours that paint our souls with divine love .

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