The people of Rajasthan live life to the hilt. After hard work in the harsh desert sun and the rocky terrain whenever they take time of they let themselves go in gay abandon. There is dancing, singing , drama ,devotional music and puppet shows and other community festivities which transform the hard working Rajasthani into a fun -loving and carefree individual. Each region has its own folk entertainment, the dace style differ as do the songs. interstingly enough, even the musical instruments are different.
Of considerable significance are the devotional songs and the communities who render these songs. Professional performers like Bhaats, Dtholis, Mirasis, Nats Bhopas and Bhands are omnipresent across the state. They are patronized by the villagers who participate actively in the shows put up by these traveling entertainers. Some of the better known forms of entertainment are:
❖ Ghoomar Dance
This is basically a community dance for women and performed on auspicious occasions. Derived form the word Ghoomna, Piroutte, this is a very simple dance where the ladies move gently, grace fully in circles.
❖ Gair Ghoomer
This is one of the many dance-forms of the bhil tribals. Performed during holy festeval, this is among few performers where both men and women dance together.
Another holy dance but performed only by men. This becomes dandier gaur in jodhpur gender in Shekhawati.
❖ Chari Dance
This is popular in the kishangarh region and involves dancing with a chari or pot, on one's head. A lighted lamp is then placed on the pot.
❖ Kachhi Ghodi
This is a dance performed on dummy horses. Men in elaborate costumes ride the equally well decorated dummy horses. Holding naked swords, these dancers move rhythmically to the beating of drums and fifes. A singer narrates the exploits of the Bavaria bandits of Shekhawati.
❖ Fair Dance
The Jasnathis of Bikaner and Churu are renowned for there tantric powers and this dance is in keeping with their life style. A large ground is prepared with live wood and boys jump on to the jasnthi men and boys jump on the fire to the accompaniment of drum, beats. The music gradually rises in tempo and reaches a crescendo, the dancers seem to be in a trance like state.
❖ Pabuji Ki Phad
A 14th century folk hero, pabuji is reved by the community. The phad or scroll, which is about 10 metres long, highlights the life and heroic deed of pabuji. The bhopas are invited by villagers to perform in their areas during times of sickness and mis fortune. The ballad is sung by the bhopa as he plays the ravan-hattha and he is joined by his wife who holds a lamp and illuminates the relevant portions at appropriate points.
❖ Drum Dance
This is a professional dance-form from Jalore. Five main with huge drums round their necks, some with huge cymbals accompany a dancer who holds a naked sword in his mouth performs vigorously by twirling three painted sticks.
❖ Teerah Taali
The kamad community of Pokhran and Deedwana perform this dance in honor of there deity, baba ramdeo. A rather unusual performance where the main play a for - stringed instrument called a chau-tara and the women sit with dozens of manjeeras, or cymbals, tied on allover there bodies and stike them with the once they hold in there hands. Some times, the women also hold a sword between their theath or place pot with lighted, lamps on there heads.
Puppet plays based on popular legends are performed by skilled puppeteers. Displaying his skill in making the puppets 'act and dance, the puppeteer is accompanied by a women, usually his wife, who place dholes, or drum and sings the ballad.
Rajasthans most sufthisticated style of folk music and has come a long way from the time it was only sung in royal courts, in praise of the rajput rulers.