• Nanduni Pattu

    Nanduni pattu takes its name from the musical instrument nanduni which is a two stringed lute, and is performed for the goddess Bhadrakali in Kerala. It is usually performed at rituals for lower Hindu castes in Bhadrakali/Bhagavati temples and private houses (Bhagavati Kollam). It is also known as Tottam pattu. Nanduni pattu is also sung as part of the dance ritual Karika Thullal. This song describes the killing of Darika by Bhadrakali.

    Track Information : Nanduni Pattu - Song to Bhadrakali.
    Performer(s) : Neelakanthan
    Collection : Rolf Kilius Collection

    Mangalagaur Arti

    This is a ritual song sung for worshipping the goddess “Gauri” in Maharashtra. It is performed by newly-wed girls on every Tuesday of the Shravan month of the Hindu calendar for the first five years of their married life. The girl worships Gauri with flowers and other rituals. She invites married women from the neighbourhood. This is a way of getting her acquainted with the new place and people after marriage. The women take part in the ritual after which they sing songs, play games like “Phugadi” and “Jhimma”. They also perform theatrical episodes like Radha-Krishna and enact skits of the interaction between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. 

    Track Information : Mangalagaur Arti by Madhumati Dhopeshwarkar and Sneha Dhopeshwarkar. Recorded by Arnold Bake in Belgaum in 1934.
    Performer(s) : Madhumalati Dhopeshwarkar, Sneha Dhopeshwarkar
    Collection : Arnold A. Bake

    Sangwa duiba

    This is the morning session of the tantric ritual for the goddess Sangwa Duiba in Arunachal Pradesh. It is performed by around 140 monks who attend the service.The senior monks and musicians are seated on both sides of the main aisle, facing each other. The shankh trumpet called 'dung-khar', which is meant to symbolise the 'om' sound, is played. This ritual is performed on the fifteenth day of the Tibetan calendar when the Sangdui text is recited. 

    Track Information : Sangwa duiba performed by the Monks of the Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
    Performer(s) : Monks of the Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
    Collection : Rolf Kilius


    The Kotas are a tribe from the Niligiris - a hilly region bordering the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. A theme in all Kota rituals is remembrance of "traditional' things and activities. Kotas constitute themselves as a unified whole, living in the present and faithful to the past in god ceremonies.

    Collection : Richard Wolf
  • Hadga

    Hadga also called Bhondla is a ritual performed by young girls during the rainy season, in Maharashtra and Karnataka. The girls draw a picture of an elephant on a wooden board or paper with rice and lentils of different colours. They decorate it with flowers and make colourful floor decorations with coloured powders (rangoli) around it. They then walk around the picture and sing the Hadga songs. In the end the offerings (sweets) are distributed. Young girls go from house to house to participate in this ritual. Hadga songs are about family relations, season, fruits and flowers of the season, etc.

    Performer(s) : Young girls of Maha Vidyalay High School, Belgaum
    Collection : Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy


    Zagor or Jagar is a popular ritual musical theatre form of Goa celebrated by the Gavdas of Tiswadi and Ponda. It is a night long performance to commemorate and worship the village deities. The Zagor is a series of short sketches or episodes called "songas", which are inspired by religious myths, and everyday issues. Etymologically the term Jagar denotes the awakening of supernatural powers.

    Performer(s) : Nauxin village
    Collection : ARCE - Archives and Community Partnership


    Jazz Yatra - a major event of Jazz in India was inaugurated in 1978 described itself as “a festival of Indo-Afro-American music”. The stars included trumpet player Clark Terry, blues singer Joe Williams and saxophone legend Sonny Rollins. There were also groups from Japan, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Norway Poland and the UK. India was represented by saxophonist Braz Gonsalves, pianist Louis Banks and vocalist Asha Puthli. Holding it all together was the MC, Willis Connover, a legend in his own right as the host of the Voice of America’s Music USA jazz programme, which ran six days a week for four decades. During the day, there was a parallel festival of Indian music and dance, with a line-up that included the Dagar brothers, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shivkumar Sharma.

    Track Information : Rudy Cotton, the tenor saxophonist at JazzYatra 1978.


    Villupattu or the "bow song" takes its name from the "villu", the bow, which is a musical instrument. It is unique as all the performers strike the villu during the performance. Villupattu is a traditional Tamil story-telling form, narrated through questions and answers and comments between the performers. It is a ritual story telling form with musical interludes where singers and other musical instruments join in. Though villupattu performances include many mythological stories, the story of Shasta or Aiyanar is what it is most known for. 

    Collection : Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy
  • Cham Dance

    The Cham is a ritual mask dance of the Tantric Buddhism tradition. The dance is meant to tame negative forces and brings good luck to all those who watch it. It is performed throughout the Himalayan and Tibetan region.

    Performer(s) : Monks of the Karma Drubgyud Choeling Monastry, Leh, Ladakh.
    Collection : Rohit Singh


    Alha is a folk epic ballad performed in most parts of North India, in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The epic consists of a number of episodes called "larai", or battles, and describe the exploits of two Rajput heroes, Alha and Udal, who fought Prithviraj Chauhan and lost. Like other oral popular forms, the Alha includes "larais" from contemporary times as well. 

    Track Information : Alha: Epic Ballad.
    Performer(s) : Jaggi Lal Tiwari, Rajjan Lal Bajpai, Nanha Kahar, Kishor Misra
    Collection : Laxmi Tewari Collection