Punjab, a state with many offerings; has a rich history in music, Punjabi folk songs in particular. Folk music or ‘lok git’ is the traditional music of Punjab. It depicts the essence of Punjab in its entirety. The history, local culture, beliefs, sentiments and the lifestyle of Punjabis is reflected in its moving verses and tones.
This branch of Punjabi music exhibits various themes and life experiences covering birth, death, marriage, love, devotion, festivals, historical heroes, folklore etc. Minor lingual differences are found in the Punjabi folk music as one explores the various sub-regions of the state, but they have similar content and evoke the same effect all over.
The following headers expand more on Punjabi folk music:
Punjabi folk songs: They have a verbal character and are occasionally paired up with traditional instruments. Tambi, Algoze, Dhadd Sarangi, Chimta, Dholak etc are some of them. They add life to the songs. These songs can be sung individually, in pairs or as a collective group. Men and women, both sing these compositions. Women sing exclusively on festive occasions, marriages, mourning etc.
Punjabi music: What sets the lok git apart from the ballads, mainstream beats and Bhangra are its rhythm and themes. Life experiences make up the majority of the textual themes. Love, marriage, birth, death, devotion, hero worship are some of them.
Tales of Sohini Mahiwal, Mirza Sahiba, Hir Ranjha dominate the subject of love, romance, tragedy and sacrifice.
Heroic bravery is portrayed in the folk tales of Raja Rasalu, Jeuna Mor and Sacha Singh Surma. People draw inspiration and strength from such stories.
Devotional and spiritual themes are portrayed in Puran Bhagat, Gopi Chand and Hakeekat Rai. Hopes, wishes, fears and faith in the Almighty are the focus of these songs.
Humorous and comedy tales or Sithnhian; Sohilhare-stories depicting the birth of a new born, containing praises for the mother and child; Khed git or songs of play are a few other themes.
Bereavement songs or Kirne and Alauhnhian deal with the concept of death, loss and anger. The tunes played in these situations are sad, thought invoking and strained.
Old Punjabi folk songs: Simple, earthy rhythms and beats characterize old Punjabi lok git. Rural life, day-to-day activities, work and life’s little luxuries are focussed on in these songs. Back in the old days, a farmer working in the field, a man pulling a cart, a wife drawing water from the well or cooking and cleaning would break into a song to pass time doing mundane tasks. The content of such songs gives us an insight on the life of Punjabi folk in olden days.
The musical beats of old Punjabi folk songs are in sync with the heartbeat of the simple man. The sound of grinding stone and spinning wheel, the squeaking of the Persian wheel, the noise made by the horse hooves, utensils, clay pots give out a rustic charm, making the music sound homely.
Music that delivers one into a trance like state, re-living stories in our minds, makes Punjabi lok git unique. Such is the effect of Punjabi folk music.