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News |  21 Jul 2018 11:00 |  By RnMTeam

Maharashtra's rich culture of Abhangs and Bhajans

MUMBAI: Devotional music has a huge market share in India, considering every state has its own festivals apart from the regular Diwali and Holi, which are celebrated across India. And the state of Maharashtra is not behind when it comes to the festive aura.

Maharashtra celebrates Ashadi Ekadashi every year by paying respect to Lord Vithhala as well as hosting a palanquin pilgrimage for 21 days, where devotees walk down to Pandharpur. Traditionally, there have been many Abhangs and Bhajans devoted for this occasion and today we have concerts happening across the state, celebrating it.

From greats like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Suresh Wadkar, everyone has performed Bhajans and Abhangs for this pious occasion. Abhangs have had lion’s share in Marathi movies and many unforgettable songs were composed in this premise. The literal meaning of Abhang is uninterrupted with etymology, where 'a' means 'non' and 'bhang' means 'interruption' in Marathi. It is devotional poetry sung in praise of Lord Vithhala.

These poems were penned centuries ago by renowned saints of Maharashtra like Sant Dnyaneshwar, Sant Tukaram, Sant Namdev etc. Over the years, these poems are set to the tunes of resonating sounds of Taal or Manjire by many legendary musicians and are sung across Maharashtra and South India. The major element in performing Abhangs is emotions more than musical technicalities, as the outcome expected is the connection with God with no barrier of caste and creed.

The culture here is so deep-rooted when it comes to this form of music that even if you walk on the roads of Pandharpur or any place, where Lord Vithhal is worshipped, you will hear devotees singing Abhangs and Bhajans. For Mumbaikars who travel in local trains, the sound of these Bhajans and Abhangs sung by the commuters can’t be missed. Therefore, it can be sung and practised by anyone and a need to be a professional musician is not a qualification.

Through scriptures to movies, audio cassettes and digital platforms, the legacy of this form of music is carried forward and is ruling hearts of the audience even today.

Recently, Swapnil More, a direct lineage of Sant Tukaram and owner of a page called Facebook Dindi, released a song to reach the Facebook Warkaris, a community devoted to Lord Vitthala.

Speaking about the song, he told, “The song encapsulates our eight-year journey and feelings of our Warkari community. When we approached Adarsh Shinde, one of the top singers from Marathi music industry, he happily agreed to be a part of this.” His Facebook page is a virtual pilgrimage for people unable to attend the 21-day walkathon and has over lakhs of subscribers.

Swapnil also shares that the original conceivers of this song approached him, “Harsh Raut and Vijay Kapse reached out to me last year and we wanted to do it then. However, due to some technical glitches, we couldn’t do it last year. We wanted to do it, as this is a part of our heritage and culture of Maharashtra. We are glad we could bring out the song this year.”

Known as Facebook Dindi theme song, Rangi Tuzya Sohalyacha Ringani, is the new age ode for the Facebook audience. The music is set by Kedar Divekar Tara Aradhya aka Ishwar Andhare. The song within no time reached over one lakh views and is still going viral among devotees.

Watch the video here

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