FOLK DANCES OF INDIA – BHANGRA DANCE
Bhangra in Punjabi (Gurmukhi) is a form of south-asian music and dance highly influenced by the culture and language of Punjab Region. Bhangra also refers to a folk dance. Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi farmers in 11th century to celebrate the coming of the harvest season. The specific moves of bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. The folk dance has been popularised in the Western world by Punjabi musicians and is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole.
The history of Bhangra music dates back to late 1960 and early 1970, several Punjabi bands from the United Kingdom set the stage for bhangra to become a form of music instead of being just a dance. Some of the earliest bands were The Shots, The black mist (1967), Kalapreet (1969) and The Saathies (1970). The success of many bands based in the United Kingdom created a fanbase, inspired new artists, and found large amounts of support in both Pakistani and Punjab where bhangra music imports from the UK created an alternative to Punjabi folk singers in the rural areas and Hindi film music in the cities. These artists, some of whom are still active today, include, Heera Group, Alaap band, Apna Sangeet and The new pardesi music.
Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe -including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and cultural shows. Bhangra dance is based on music from a Punjabi folk drum, folk singing, a single-stringed instrument called the iktar, the tumbi and the chimta. In Punjabi folk music, a smaller dhol, the dholki, was nearly always used to provide the main beat. Additional percussion, including tabla, is less frequently used in bhangra as a solo instrument but is sometimes used to accompany the dhol and dholki. Punjabi women wear Salwar Kameez and men wear Dhoti Kurta to perform the Dance. Bhangra as a whole represents celebration and has a very joyous expression, fast beats and loud music with beautiful punjabi lyrics adds a outward flavour to this dance.