Bhangra


April 18, 2000


I. Introduction


I am here to inform you about a very unique type of dance and song.


II. What is Bhangra?


Bhangra is a style of music and dance that originates from the region of Punjab (the land of five rivers) in North India and Pakistan (Tatla). Many people believe that Bhangra originated in the 1400s, however, it may be even older (Tatla). The dance is performed when celebrating important occasions such as Vaisakhi (the beginning of the harvest season), weddings, birthday, etc. During Vaisakhi, the fields with their golden brown wheat invite the farmers to dance, thus reflecting the spirited animation of the Punjabi farmer joyful at the results of his harvest. Bhangra is often accompanied by singing and, most significantly, the dhol (large drum), the dholaki (smaller version of the dhol), table (set of two small drums), and tumbi (Singh, J.). The lyrical content depicts celebration, love, patriotism, and current societal issues.


III. Who performs Bhangra?


Primarily men perform Bhangra, while the ladies perform their own fierce, yet elegant, dance called Giddha. Along with Bhangra, giddha is a folkdance originating from the region of Punjab (Tatla). Giddha is often performed to songs called boliyan. These boliyan convey satirical stories on a variety of issues ranging from lifeís daily dilemmas to family situations to affairs of the heart. When Bhangra and giddha are performed, the dancers are clothed in very bright colors. The men ware the turban, lungi (long cloth wrapped around the waist), and kurta (traditional Indian shirt), while the women, when performing Giddha, ware the salvar kameez (a long colorful shirt accompanied with a baggy style bottom piece) accompanied by their bright colored duppattas (cloth wrapped around the neck).


IV. Current crazy over Bhangra


Quite simply put, Bhangra can be described as an exciting, beat intense music phenomenon that has existed for centuries, but is currently enjoying unparalleled popularity with the birth of the music remix scene in the 1980ís (Madra). Now days, Bhangra is becoming more popular worldwide and people of non-Punjabi background are listening to and performing Bhangra. Universities and other organizations are holding annual Bhangra dance competitions in many of the main cities of the United States, Canada, and England. At these competitions, young Punjabis, people of different South Asian background, and people with no South Asian background compete. It is evident that every year Bhangra becomes more popular and known among many different types of people worldwide.