Sapera : snake charmers of India

Very little is known about the origin of the Sapera community. All that is known is that they are a community of snake charmers. They are one of a number of semi-nomadic communities found in North India, which live in camps at the outskirts of most North Indian towns. Shunned by mainstream society, they have made their living through curing snake bites, ridding people’s homes of snakes and showing the snakes to tourists for money while playing their homemade been (or pungi). The been is constructed out of a gourd and is the trademark music instrument of the Sapera community.

The following tracks are field recordings of the Saperas playing the been, recorded live at the Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal. The mesmerizing drone of the been and the driving rhythms of the premtal and kanyeri (percussion instruments) provide through the music a spectacle that has captured the imaginations of Indians and non-Indians for centuries.

Been, Premtal, Kanyeri – Theka Talin :  Download

Been, Premtal, Kanyeri – Folk Song of Haryana :  Download

Been, Premtal, Kanyeri – Melodies: films Nagin, Raja Hindustani :  Download

Been, Premtal, Kanyeri – Melody: film Phagun :  Download

Been, Premtal, Kanyeri – Rasiya from Rajasthan :  Download

Been, Premtal, Kanyeri – Rajasthani Lok Sangeet, Lahra :  Download



Folk music of Kashmir

The valley of Kashmir which is surrounded by the snow-clad Himalayas is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. It is a vast expanse of flat country with rich alluvial soil, lofty and glacial mountains, crystal streams, lofty crags, torrents, broad lakes, shady Chinar groves and pine forests. Kashmir’s picturesque beauty has been immortalized in paintings, songs and poetry. The culture of Kashmir is distinct and diverse, encompassing the various habits and lifestyles of the people inhabiting in it’s region. During their long periods of independence, isolation and solidarity, the people of Kashmir developed a unique culture making everlasting contributions to learning and literature. For a long time, Kashmir was a separate kingdom, and the history of Kashmir is a chronicle of Kings and courts. The history and tradition of folk music and dance in Kashmir valley goes back to thousands of years.

Folk music of Kashmir – Song of the Boatmen :  Download

Folk music of Kashmir – Love Duet :  Download

Folk music of Kashmir – Song of the Nightingale :  Download

Folk music of Kashmir – Song of the Silkworms :  Download

Folk music of Kashmir – Beautiful Kashmir :  Download

Folk music of Kashmir – Song of Spring :  Download

All the above songs are genuine field recordings, unadulterated and spared from the paraphernalia that accompanies studio recordings.