Bhatiali or Bhatiyali as it is also known as is the traditional or folk music
practiced in the West Bengal
state of India. It is a conventional boat song mainly sung by boatmen while going down streams of river
Origin of Bhatiali/ Bhatiyali
This form of folk song has been made popular by boatmen from Bangladesh, as they were the first people to actually start singing this in the Mymensingh district along the Brahmaputra River
or the Bhati (lower region of a river) area. At one time, there were total five types of bhatiyali in Bangladesh but some of these forms are extinct at present.
Meaning of Bhatiali/ Bhatiyali
The word Bhatiyali comes from Bhata meaning ebb or downstream. In literal sense, the term Bhatiyali signifies the particular type of folk music sung by the boatman during his up-journey across down streams of the Riverine districts of Bengal. The folk song begins with an appealing address to a person who remains at some distance. So, the voice takes a loud flight of top notes in the starting. Gradually, the tune slides down to lower notes.
Lyrics of Bhatiali/ Bhatiyali
The concept of Bhatiali has become very popular over the years. The lyrics for these kinds of songs generally concerns boating, rivers and fishing. Among all the other types of folk music practised in Bengal this from - Bhatiali, deals with Prakriti-tatva (about nature). Bhatiali is sung in a specific mode and is popular for its long-drawn notes. The Bhatiali songs are sung with a touch of sadness in the memory of one`s beloved. The songs express the pure and deep love of a beloved through its simple language.
People Popular for Bhatiali
Some of the popular collectors, composers and writers in the genre are Miraz Ali, Ukil Munshi, Rashid Uddin, Jalal Khan, Jang Bahadur, Shah Abdul Karim and Umed Ali. Between 1930s and 1950, Bhaitali has seen its golden age, when most of these personalities were contributing to the genre. Singer Abbas Uddin made the genre popular singing Amay bhashaili re, amay dubaili re and other popular numbers. In the 2000s, Malay Ganguly and Bari Siddiki are two most prominent Bhatiali singers.