The Himachali Renaissance: Kunjari with Riffs

The exploration of the wilderness of folk culture belonging to Himachal Pradesh and the Himachali created an unstoppable tornado of The Indie Rock Folk cult, unveiling its exquisiteness to the entire globe. 

The Pahari folk culture of Himachal received a jetpack boost when a group of youngsters started their brainchild named ‘Laman’. Laman is an Indian folk and semi-classical band from Himachal Pradesh, with a simple aim to reconnoitre and redevise the existing and forgotten folk melodies of Himachal Pradesh with the help of modern sound and instruments, so that the contemporary world could identify with these melodies. The two youngsters, Abhishek Bisht and Shishir Chauhan have created a buzz in the music industry of Himachal. These young pioneers always state that the Himachali folklore is mainly about strong human emotions of love, happiness, pain, sorrow and suffering.

The roots of the band’s name arise from a famous folk song of Himachal song, Laaman. This song originated in the serene Kullu valley, and later seeped and blended with the diverse cultural mosaic of Himachal Pradesh, denoting the real emotion of love.

The band believes that the folk melodies have an immense power to unite people to their basic intrinsic nature, which is love and compassion. Laman was the first initiative to promote the Himachali culture through music video format, showing the rich culture of Himachal Pradesh and wanting to spread it worldwide. Himachali youth weren’t used to relating to Pahari songs and videos before, so when Laman came up with modern sound and videos with particular themes and subjects, people started connecting to their roots, and that is how Laman gained popularity all over Himachal.

The band covered the beautiful folk ballad known as ‘Kali Gaghri’, keeping the melodious pedigrees of the folklore, while also recomposing the ballad with pumped up drums and electrifying six strings. With this unique and bold experiment, the band was the only one in the history of Himachal to be loved by the youth and the elders at the same time.  

The band Laman started a cult in the music industry of Himachal Pradesh, giving a stimulus to the era of Himachali Folk Renaissance, with notable bands and artists such as Abhigya the Band reprising infamous folk songs like ‘Dhudu Nacheya’ or ‘Chitta toh tera chola…’ with an indie rock touch and mellow traditional ballads, who were primarily influenced by the Folk culture through travelling, especially in learning folk instruments such as Didgeridoo and combining it with the modern piccolo. The founding member of Abhigya, Anshul Kapoor states that his ultimate goal is to promote the Pahadi folk culture and represent Himachali folk music on a big stage like the Coke Studio. He added, There are no other artists from Himachal except Mohit Chauhan who is promoting our folk [music] in the industry.”

Another infamous vocalist, Baba Hansraj Raghuvanshi, made a landmark debut in the Himachali music industry through the same. Hansraj Raghuvanshi is a rising star who remains a topic of discussion for everyone due to his high pitch amalgamated with the fender tones. This star of Himachal Pradesh has become famous all over India with his debut song “Mera Bhola Hai Bhandari’, gaining traction and a huge fan following all across the country.

Read also- Himachali Folk Romanticism: Beyond Undervalued

Feature Image Credits: Himachal Wonders

Nirmanyu Chouhan



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