(Last Updated on : 05-03-2014)
Forms of East Indian folk music speak volumes about the richness in the music field of eastern part of the country. Folk-music is known to be based primarily on the dialect of the people. In other words, it is an expression necessitated to communicate ideas through the use of everyday language. Folk-songs generally maintain a natural contrast with the general language of composition. In geographically restricted areas, local words, crude and raucous expressions, occur normally. Chaste words, even if used, are converted into local phonetic characters.
On the other hand, dialects carrying greater percentage of chaste vocabularies, occurring in some popular folk-songs, are liable to be initiated more by general vocalists; of course, these chaste words are often covered by local intonation. Songs of developed type of the central area of West Bengal
receive the impact of the chaste language directly. This has happened to folk-songs of the middle area of Bengal where devotional songs of rich variety and Baul songs
had their radical growths.
has some special character in this regard. The highly cultured language of some popular songs by Kavisamrat Upendra Bhanja in Orissa is easily recited by folk-singers rendered in folk-tunes.
As for Bengalis of Wet Bengal, innumerable varieties of dialects with phonetic peculiarities of different variations cover the entire area of the state. As far as collected songs are concerned, popular verses are generally recognized when repeated, e.g., dialects used in Sari songs of East Bengal. But dialects on border area of West Bengal differ so greatly that their forms on the one side may not be followed on the other. The language of a Bhaoaia or Catka songs of the northern area may sound foreign to a man of Midnapore district. The language of some popular songs of East Bengal ballads may be absolutely jarring to the ears of people of West Bengal in spite of the fact that a large number of such songs are fairly known. The tendency of combining chaste and local vocabularies is more in vogue in Bengal.
Assamese folk-songs, from the Indian state
, indicate a novel feature in the combination of Tibeto-Burman vocabularies with a balanced use of chaste forms in some standard popular songs. Frequent use of derived-forms and local vocabularies in popular folk-songs is a normal character. Historically, we may find that during the spread of Vaisnavic thought in the Brahmaputra
valley there was a channel of communication of ideas between Bihar
through northern Bengal. Folk-music of North Bengal maintains similarity with Assamese folk-songs of its western region to a certain extent. Musical characters, thus, appear to depend on exchange of local characters of the dialect. We need not mention the medieval history here. The closest relation of Koch Kingdom and Kamrupa
of the medieval ages does not give here any clue to the establishment of musical affinities. The affinities must have been due to the exchange of religious thoughts and common social ties amongst people.