Manganiyars: The Rajasthani Folk Music You Need to Know

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of folk music, then you need to know about the Manganiyars. This Rajasthani folk music group is truly one of a kind, and their music is sure to transport you to another world.

What are Manganiyars?

The Manganiyars are a Muslim community of folk musicians who live in Rajasthan, India. Though their music has been influenced by both Hindu and Muslim traditions, they have developed their own unique style that is characterized by vocals and the use of traditional instruments like the dholak (a two-headed drum), the sarangi (a bowed string instrument), and the manjeera (a pair of cymbals). Manganiyar music is often described as being joyful and heartwarming, and it is said to have the ability to touch the soul.

The Manganiyars are a tight-knit community, and music plays an important role in their lives. In addition to performing at weddings, births, and other celebrations, Manganiyar musicians also work as folk healers. They believe that music has the power to heal physical and emotional wounds, and they often use their songs to help people through difficult times.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Manganiyars and their music, there are a few great resources available. The BBC documentary “The Lost Tribe of Rajasthan” provides an intimate look at the Manganiyars and their culture. And if you’re looking for something more hands-on, consider taking a Manganiyar music workshop led by Rajasthani musician Mahesh Kothari.

The History of Manganiyars

The Manganiyars are a Muslim community of folk musicians from the Rajasthan region of India. The Manganiyars trace their origins to the desert state of Marwar, and are thought to be descended from the court musicians of the Rajput rulers who ruled there. Manganiyar means “singer of mangs”, or “minstrel”.

The Manganiyars are traditionally divided into two groups: the Langas, who play the sarangi (a type of Indian fiddle), and the “Manganiyar proper”, who play the dumbak (a type of goblet drum). The two groups are further divided into a number of clans, each with its own traditional repertoire.

The Manganiyars are known for their beautiful, soulful singing, as well as their virtuosity on their respective instruments. The Manganiyars’ music is deeply rooted in Sufism, and often features themes of love, loss, and longing.

Despite their long history, the Manganiyars have only recently begun to gain wider recognition outside of Rajasthan. In recent years, a number of Manganiyar ensembles have been formed, and have begun touring internationally. The most famous of these is the Rajasthan Josh ensemble, which has been featured on numerous television and radio programs, and has even performed at Carnegie Hall.

The Manganiyars are an important part of Rajasthani culture, and their music is a treasure trove of traditional Indian music. If you have a chance to see a Manganiyar performance, do not miss it!

The Music of Manganiyars

The Manganiyars are a community of Muslim folk musicians who have been playing the traditional music of Rajasthan for centuries. Manganiyar music is based on the folk traditions of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and is characterized by its use of the sarangi (a fretless string instrument) and the harmonium (a small hand-pumped reed organ).

Manganiyar music is traditionally performed in the presence of a royalty or at village festivals, and often features themes of love, loss, pain and separation. The music is highly emotional and often features call-and-response singing between the musician and the audience.

In recent years, the Manganiyars have begun to tour internationally, performing at festivals and concert halls around the world. They have also released a number of critically acclaimed albums, including Journeys with The Sarangi (2010) and The Soul of Rajasthan (2013).

The Instruments of Manganiyars

The Manganiyars are a Muslim community of folk musicians who live in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India. They are known for their vibrant and passionate music, which is often accompanied by traditional instruments such as the sarangi (a type of string instrument), the harmonium (a type of keyboard instrument), and the dholak (a type of drum). The Manganiyars’ music is also frequently accompanied by singing and clapping.

The Manganiyar Performances

The Manganiyar perform at numerous festivals and melas (the Hindi word for fair) throughout Rajasthan.

During these events, the Manganiyar sing a wide variety of songs, both traditional and modern. Traditional Manganiyar songs are typically devotional in nature, and often praise the Hindu deities Krishna, Ram, and Hanuman. Modern songs may include popular Bollywood hits, as well as folk songs about current events or social issues.

The Manganiyar are also known for their skill in improvisation, and will often spontaneously create new lyrics or melodies based on their audience’s mood or the event they are performing at.

No matter what type of song they are singing, the Manganiyar always perform with a great deal of passion and energy. Their performances are sure to leave you feeling energized and uplifted!

The Future of Manganiyars

The Manganiyars are a Muslim community of folk musicians who have been playing traditional music in Rajasthan for centuries. Their music is based on the folk traditions of Rajasthan and has been influenced by Sufi and Bhakti movements. The Manganiyars are also known for their unique style of singing, which includes intoning and falsetto.

In recent years, the Manganiyars have begun to experiment with different genres of music, including jazz, rock, and hip hop. Some Manganiyar musicians have even collaborated with Pakistani artists. This new direction has led to a resurgence of interest in the Manganiyars and their music.

The future of the Manganiyars looks bright. Their unique style of music is resonating with new audiences, and they are gaining recognition both in India and abroad. With their talent and creativity, the Manganiyars are sure to continue to innovate and create beautiful music for many years to come.

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