Music with its entire effervescence transcends all realities whilst lifting the soul. It is an effort of illustrating the truth, of manifesting the eternal feelings of love, bliss, tears and happiness. Indian music amidst its fizz and pulse has thawed a billion hearts since the remote past
Bhangra is a popular genre of the Indian folk music, which with its root deeply associated in the land of Punjab has somewhat, redefined the very structure of Indian folk music to a great level. In its conventional sense Bhangra is a typical dace form. It was much later Bhangra crossing the bar of being just a folk dance of the "harvesting season" called the "Vaisakhi ", gradually became a popular musical expression where the term "harmony" gained a definite articulation.
Among the most virile, vigorous and captivating dances of India, Bhangra includes tricks and acrobatic feats in its performance. It strongly reflects the vigor, the vitality, the leaven of exuberance and the hilarity permeated among the rural folk due to the promise of a coming bumper crop. Bhangra includes the drummer who usually stands in the center of the circle in an open space surrounded by dancers who even recite meaningless `bolis`, words such as "Hoay, Hoay"; or "Balle, Balle", which not only inspire themselves but also others for the dance.
The drummer in this dance, holds two sticks with the help of which he beats the drum, to beckon the dancers to a higher tempo of movement. At the initial stage dance starts with a slow movement of their feet. But as the tempo increases, the entire body comes into action. The dancers whirl round and round bending and straightening their bodies, jumping on one leg, raising their hands and start clapping their hands with their handkerchiefs.
At the intervals, the tempo of the dance becomes slow, dancers stop moving, but continue to beat the rhythm with their feet. One of the dancers from the group come forward near the drummer and covering his left ear with his palm sings a boali or dholla, derived from the traditional folk songs of Punjab. Picking up the last lines of boali, the dancers again start dancing with greater vigor as before.
For powerful music set up, in addition to a drum, chimta-musical tongs and burchu and sound of the beats from earthen vessels are used. The costumes of a Bhangra dancer are unique, which suits the vigor of dance. They are consists of a bright, colored Patka on the head, a lacha or lungi of the same color, a long tunic and a black or blue waistcoat and ghunghroos on the ankles. Some dancers also wear small rings (nuntian) in their ears as an ornament.
The Bhangra season concludes with the fair of Baisakhi when the wheat crop is harvested. There are several styles of performing Bhangra like Sialkoti, Sheikhupuri, Tribal, Malwa, Majha etc. One of the step or move of Bhangra is also similar to the moves of Shiv-Tandav dance, which is danced on one leg by Shiva. Damru i.e. hand-drum is also used in Bhangra.
It was during the later part of the 80s Bhangra for the very first time crossing the bars of the "secluded halls " entered into the glamorous world of the clubs of England which offered an international diction to this folk art form whilst making it all the more contemporary. Bhangra then became the mainstream music in the international market, which further contoured the status of Indian music in the global arena. Artsit like Gurdaas Maan, Malkit Sing and troupes like Bhujungy Group, Apna and Alaap contoured Bhangra whilst offering a comprehensive outline.
It is during the 90s amongst the Indian youths Bhangra became somewhat a mainstream music. It was then pop, Jazz and brass music all united with the beats of Bhangra to form that special kind of music, which revives even the most tired soul.
Now days Bhangra is just not a typical form of folk music but has became a particular form of Indian music, which has, broke the barriers of stage, pits and galleries and has become the accepted form of expression of the mass.