Langa literally means ‘song giver’. An accomplished group of poets, singers, and musicians from the Barmer district of Rajasthan, the Langas seem to have converted from Hinduism to Islam in the 17th century. Traditionally, Sufi influences prevented them from using percussion instruments, however, the Langas are versatile players of the Sindhi Sarangi and the Algoza (double flute), which accompany and echo their formidable and magical voices. They perform at events like births, and weddings, exclusively for patrons (Yajman), who are cattle breeders, farmers, and landowners. The Langa musicians are regarded by their patrons as ‘kings’.
The ‘Sindhi Sarangi’ used by the Langas, is made up of four main wires, with more than twenty vibrating sympathetic strings which help to create its distinctive haunting tones. The bowing of these instruments is a skilful exercise, often supported by the sound of the ‘ghungroos’ or ankle bells that are tied to the bow to make the beat more prominent.
Manganiar plays the remarkable bowed instrument is the ‘kamayacha’, with its big, circular resonator, giving out an impressive deep, booming sound. The music of Rajasthan is driven by pulsating rhythms created by an array of percussion instruments, the most popular of them being the ‘dholak’, a double headed barrel drum, whose repertoire has influenced other Indian drums including the tabla. This recording also features the double flute, ‘satara’ , and the hypnotic Jewish harp or ‘morchang’
The gypsies of Rajasthan, who hail from the Thar Desert, are known for their snake charming art, acrobatics (tight rope walking) and of course their folk dances and music
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