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A Lilting Dialect

Manjari Sinha

By Shailesh Srivastava
Sangeet Natak Akademi, 2009, pp. 198, Rs. 350.00


Folksongs, especially Bhojpuri folk songs have always occupied a prominent place in the oral tradition of Indian music. Apart from the traditional songs that are sung on festivals or social events, there is a significant segment of Sanskaar Geet sung on various ritualistic ceremonies from birth to death. These songs have taken constant care of the social customs, relationships and human values but the recent upheaval of globalization has drastically changed our socioeconomic scenario resulting in a significant loss of our cultural values in general and these folk songs in particular. This is the concern for Shailesh Srivastava in her first book Bhojpuri Sanskargeet aur Prasaar Maadhyam which is well researched and endeavours to capture and preserve the rich folk heritage of the Bhojpuri speaking region of the Indian subcontinent that has nurtured our cultural and philosophical streams for ages. Born in Ballia District in Eastern U.P. and brought up along with these songs as an essential ingredient of her growing up years, Shailesh later joined the Broadcasting services. A couple of CDs are available with this book, where the author has sung these songs in her own voice. Shailesh has been trained in classical music by gurus like Ustad Rahat Ali Khan, Pandit Kashinath Mishra and Pandit RajanSajan Mishra. The book deals with topics like the birth and growth of the Bhojpuri dialect, the geogaphic and historical perspective of this language, Bhojpuri folk songs and classical music, aesthetics of Bhojpuri folk songs and their role of All India Radio and Doordarshan in the propagation and preservation of these precious foloksongs. Apart from the Sanskaargeet that are sung on occasion of particular ritualistic sanskaars, the author has witten about the other varieties of Bhojpuri folk songs as well, e.g., the RituGeet (the seasonal songs) like Kajari, Chaiti, Hori, Baarahmaasa et al, Vrat ke geet like ChhathMata, Naagpanchami, Godhana and Jhoomar etc. Shailesh has made use of her training in classical music in providing authentic notations of some of these songs along with the full text. In the supporting CD she has mentioned the name and explained about the particular ritual before singing the song associated with it, like Sohar sung on child birth or Matripoojan, Kohbar, NahachhuNahaavan, Dwaarpooja songs associated with the marriage ceremony etc. There are also the songs sung on the occasion of AnnaPrashan, Mundan, Chhedan to the ultimate Nirgun Bhajans that are sung at death ...

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