Indian folk music is rich, and we are glad that these folk musicians are reviving it back with their melodious work. Here’s a list of some of the best folk musicians that we have in the country who are blessing our ears with their fabulous melodies.
There’s no doubt in the fact that our country is not just blessed with geographical diversity but also cultural diversity. There are 28 states, and each one of them has a distinct art and culture. Music, art, and craft are different in every region, and that’s what makes our land special. If we talk about music, we can’t overlook the beauty of folk music and its rich heritage. However, the popularity of the same is a little less compared to the mainstream genres, but it is getting revived by some contemporary Indian folk musicians, and so we decided to list them down because they are composing real gems!
1. Raghu Dixit Project
This multilingual folk or fusion band from Bangalore is on fire and composes songs with traditional Indian sounds with western influence. Raghu Dixit’s voice is no less than a musical magic for ears. Their songs are in the Kannada language, and even if you don’t understand them, the fabulous composition would make you want to sing them aloud. They have done over 1500 concerts, in more than 30+ countries, and winning hearts for all right reasons.
2. Tetseo Sisters
A group of 4 sisters from Nagaland founded this band in 1994, and since then, this sister squad has been promoting the art and tradition of the vocal folk music of North-East India. Mercy, Azi, Kuvelu, and Alune, along with their brother Mhaseve belong to the Chakhesang tribe (a major Naga ethnic group) and they are reviving the folk music of Nagaland with their iconic songs and music videos. O Rhosi, and Cepho Celho Lizo are some of their must-listen.
3. Maati Baani
Founded by Hindustani vocalist Nirali Kartik and award-winning Composer & Music producer Kartik Shah, Maati Baani is another must-watch duo. Their work is a mix of India’s rare folklore and classical music with a blend of funk and blues. The duo has collaborated with over 200 musicians across the world and features voices singing in Hindi, Gujarati, Sindhi, and Rajasthani languages. Though all their songs are marvelous, we’d suggest you first give Banjara and Mitwa a watch.
Another Indian Folk & fusion band that’s taking the Bangalorean music scene to a different level is Swarathma. They are known for blending Indian Folk and Classical Music with western sounds like Blues Rock and Reggae incredibly. They were the first Indian band to come up with 40-page graphic storybook created in collaboration with a comic collective which went to number 1 on the iTunes all-genre India chart. Moreover, their song Beta Sweater Pehno was even featured in the second season of Family Man.
5. Masala Coffee
Adding their masala to various genres such as Indian folk, blues, pop, and rock, Masala Coffee is one of our favourites. Their songs are pure bliss and quite addicting. The band usually makes songs in Malayalam and Tamil but also performs in Hindi and has made headlines for the same. This energetic band has played countless gigs in over 12 countries and has even won numerous national awards for their outstanding work.
6. Mame Khan
Talking about folk music and not mentioning Mame Khan would be very unfair. He is an Indian playback and folk singer from Rajasthan and is a familiar name among music enthusiasts. Having sung in various Bollywood movies, Mame Khan recently even made it to the Cannes 2022 and is known for his musical takes on folk music. Time to listen to Chaudhary again, haina?
7. Kabir Café
This indie-folk and folk-fusion music band is based in Mumbai and was founded in 2013 by Neeraj Arya. Inspired by Sant Kabir, Neeraj started playing folk melodies of Kabir’s dohas and Samji’s. His band has released 3 albums as of now and has performed over 800 concerts across India and abroad. Mat Kar Maya ka Ahankar and Kya Leke Aaya Jagat me are some of their best songs.
8. Kalpana Patowary
Kalpana Patowary is a folk singer from Assam who sings in 30 languages but finds her solace in Bhojpuri folk music. She is the first woman to record and sing in the male-dominated Chhaprahiya Purvi style. Her performances at the Coke Studio were mind-boggling and she did win many hearts with songs like Baisara Beera and Birha. She is indeed one of the must-listen Indian folk musicians.