Hindi Songs Folk Influences

Internationally musical song and dance routine with an exception of operas were confined to the ‘musicals’ which were synonymous with ‘pure entertainment’. Musicals have only entertainment value in the west and are rarely ever used to portray serious subjects. But in India, song and dance sequences are an integral part of a film and even hold a film together. The use of hindi songs and music in the films has never been merely as an escapism and popularity tool. This might be because the tradition of song and dance is rooted deep in Indian folk culture, where the most serious scenes have been conveyed using music and dance forms. This is perhaps the reason why the Indian audience can sit through song and dance routine in serious films like ‘Satta’ and ‘Bombay’ as they can in romantic movies like ‘Dil Waale Dulhanniya le jayenge’.

And this is perhaps the reason why songs have been used in bollywood to express every emotion and any imaginable situation. The song and dance sequence has over time become an essential part of bollywood, complementing and supplementing it at every step, so much so that it is bollywood’s identity today.

The influence of folk music of India began on bollywood music and Hindi Songs in mid 40’s as majority of new singers and music composers came from north India and the influence of folk music was naturally visible in their compositions and music patterns.

Naushad Ali, Ghulam Hyder, Noor Jehan, Shamshad Begum and Ghulam Mohammed all played a great role in bringing folk music to the fore and introducing it to the Hindi cinema. Naushad Ali and Zohrabai together to created an astounding folk song ‘Akhiyan Milake’, which is being remixed even today, after about 65 years of its creation.

The complete music score of legendary bollywood movie Mother India is entrenched in folk-based music, whether it is in the song ‘Dukhbhare din beetay re bhaiya’ while harvesting the crops or in the song ‘Gadiwale gadi dheere hank’ (during bullock cart race scene).

Over the time, O P Nayyar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and S D Burman successfully and effectively exploited the genre of folk music as Hindi songs for their movies. While S.D Burman depended heavily on Bengali Music, LakshmiKant added the folk flavor by incorporating dholaks and dafli. Some composers like Nayyar and recently A.R Rahman have made use of regional instruments in their compositions along with other usually and frequently used instruments. This added a freshness and new feel to their compositions.

Rahman’s music compositions have been heavily influenced by Carnatic music, Tamil traditional/folk, Hindustani music, qawwali and many more folk genres. While rustic folk was used by him in ‘Laggan’, Sufi mysticism was the foundation of some of his songs like ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ and ‘Khwaaja mere Khawaja’. He even composed Hindi songs with Hindustani motifs for deepa Mehta’s Water.

Recently ‘oye lucky! Lucky Oye!’ made use of some folk music and ‘Dev D’ made innovative use of rajasthani folk base in ‘Dhol yaara Dhol’. The influence of folk music on bollywood music industry and Hindi Songs is here to stay since it appeals to listeners emotions.

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