A lot of people prefer listening to folk music, whether they belong to any place, they crave for raw voices, vernacular instruments, and vernacular dances and music. Everyone has a different taste in music, but when it comes to folk music- we enjoy it hands down. One such music form is a community of Rajasthan known as the Langa and Manganiyar. This community has been making music since the ages of the kings and the queens of the early Rajputana period, till today in the 21st century.
Who are Langa and Manganiyar?
Langa and Manganiyar are folk musicians who follow a rich oral tradition which they have innate from their ancestors. These balladeers from Rajasthan sing of everyday chores and sentiment. They are highly applicable and probably that is the reason why they are able to captivate their listeners.
Manganiyars have proficiency over percussion instruments like Dholak and Khadtal, whereas Langas are known for Sarangi, Murali, Surnai, etc. Their pieces of music are work of art and are quite complex. The word Manganiyar means those who ask for offerings. On different occasions, they would go to benefactor’s house and sing songs and in turn, would be rewarded.
If you go through the roots of these musical groups then we come to know that these Langas and Manganiars were groups of professional musicians, whose music was encouraged by wealthy landlords and aristocrats. This custom and hierarchy are maintained till now. Both the groups sing in the same language but their styles differ. This difference of style came into existence as per the tastes of their patrons. Both the communities belong to Islamic origins but many of their songs are in praise of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Similarly, they are known to celebrate Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Holi. The Manganiar performers evoke the Hindu God Krishna and seek his blessings before the initiation of their musical performance.
It is also believed that the Manganiars were musicians of the Rajput courts. They used to accompany their chiefs to war and providing them with entertainment before and after the battles. In addition to this, these singers and musicians also performed at the event of the chiefs’ death and would perform at the ruler’s vigil day and night until the mourning was over.
Coming to the second music community of Rajasthan, the Langas which literally means a song giver is a group of poets, singers, and musicians from the Barmer district of Rajasthan. The Langas are multitalented players of the Sindhi Sarangi and the Algoza (double flute), which accompany their magical voices. They used to perform at events like births, and weddings, completely for their patrons, who were cattle breeders, farmers, and landowners.
Today, these musical groups perform in various realms and obtain major acclaims not just in the country but also internationally. Rajasthan hosts one of the most lively and vibrant music cultures of the world. The land of sand dunes and camels imparts the fragrance of vernacular music and folklores that touches the hearts of many. These musicians have such an impact on the listeners that they are bound to listen to them again and again.
If you have ever listened to any Langa or Manganiyar, do let us know your experience in the comment section below.