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Folk-lore of Kashmir

by Rita Kaul

Kashmir 'folk-lore' is very rich and symbolic. Therein lies the variedRita Kaul influence of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Not only have the poets written great devotional songs merging into deep God realization, but they also manifested into subtle romanticism. In order to blend varied poetry with music, for the purpose of orchestra, special musical instruments are used.

Chhakri is one such local modes of presenting 'folk-lore'. The main instruments are 'Tumbakhnär' and 'Nót'. 'Tumbakhnär' a sort of percussion instrument is made of baked clay. The drainpipe like instruments has on one side a circular wider opening which is covered by a hide. 'Nót' is an earthen pitcher, the hollowness of which is harnessed into soothing music.

Other instruments, which also play prominent part are the Harmonium, the Rabab, the Sarangi and a pair of Cymbals. Chhakri unlike the other medium of folk singing can treat any type of song with vibrant music - be it devotional, romantic or even an opera-based.

The artistes with their instruments sit in a semi-circle and at the head sits the leading artist. He is generally blessed with good voice and gives the lead line of the song and the other artists follow it, keeping the musical accompaniment in the background. Once again the main artist sings the second lead line and the others follow him. Finally the artist recites the last line - this time the musical instruments play prominent role in such a way that it produces a lovely musical blend.

Chhakri is the most common mode of lore rendering in Kashmir. It really reverberates in the Valley of Kashmir.

Source: Milchar

 


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