kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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Meeting the Manganiyars

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Date(s) - 19 Mar 2012 until 26 Mar 2012
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM


Our first research trip in March this year is to Rajasthan to meet the Manganiyars, who have been telling the story of the Ramayana and Mahabharata in their songs for several generations. For centuries, they have survived on the patronage of wealthy merchants and royal families of the region.

The Manganiyars, who are Muslim,  live in and around the Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Barmer districts. Their songs are transmitted orally and apart from the epics, their repertoire ranges from tales of Alexander the Great to stories of local rajas and their battles. The Manganiyars sing the story of Rama in the form of Ram bhajans, drawing from the poetry of Kabir, Surdas, Mirabai, Bihari and Tulsidas. Their songs are firmly based in classical ragas and are accompanied by local folk instruments like the kamaicha and the dholak. However, these versatile singers do not follow the tight framework of the classical system. Rather, their music flows effortlessly from one raga to another.

While we are in Rajasthan, we plan to document the Ram katha as it exists in Rajasthan as well as experience the lives of these folk musicians in the 21st century.

We will be Meeting the Manganiyars between March 19th and 26th, 2012.

For more on the Manganiyars watch this video