Mangniyar: Music brewing from the sand of Rajasthan

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By Mehak Sabharwal

New Delhi, Feb. 18(ANI): Did you know that Mangniyar means to beg and the Mangniyar musicians from the state of Rajasthan have always made their livings from begging? Well, not anymore. Now, we beg from them.

People’s increased interest in the folk music has given these artists an international platform and has given them a chance to collaborate with different international artists.

The Manganiars consider themselves as descendants of the Rajputs and are renowned as highly skilled folk musicians of the Thar Desert. Their songs are passed on from generation to generation as a form of oral history of the desert.

Interestingly, this folk music has three main instruments Kamaicha, Khartaal and Dholak.

During a recent interview with ANI, Khetya Khan Manganiyar, who is known for his Khartal playing skills around the world said, “Khartal is a folk instrument that has four pieces of wood and is created out of black sheesham. We Manganiyars took the idea of making it from old sufies like Meera bai and Kabir, who used to play ektara from one hand and kartal from the other.”

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Meanwhile, son of renowned Kamaicha player Sakar Khan, Dhara Khan said that Kamaicha, the main instrument of the Mangniyar tribe, is made of mango wood and has been in the tribe from generations.

Parts of Kamaicha are also made from goat’s skin, eye and horse’s tail.

Showing his concern about the extinction of Kamaicha he said, “People across the borders show more interest in our art rather than the locals, so we try to bring kids from nearby villages and teach them the art of Kamaicha, so that it doesn’t vanish from our tribe.”

Currently, several Manganiar groups tour internationally. The most well-known productions currently touring internationally are ‘Rhythm of Rajasthan’ and they have performed at Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall. (ANI)

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