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» Folk Songs

Tripura, the land of Melody and Music


 Musical Instrument


 Types of Songs

 Romantic Song

 Advise of Couple

 Natural Beauty

  Jhum Cultivation


 New Brides

 Sensing Separation

 Trouble of life

 Love & Fear


 Mamita Festival

The Tripuri folk songs in called TIPRA BHAROT. The folk songs are as old as the tribe and they have survived through the ages as a tradition. The Tripuri folk songs arc widely spread over the entire community like all other folk songs of other regions. These songs were composed in the early days of their collective living by individuals whose identity is unrecognizable and ignored. The folk songs are based on old traditions, thoughts, desires, love, jhum cultivation, harvesting, festivals, beliefs and superstitions etc. The theme of the songs has outlived the time without any deviations and till today the folksongs are sung in original form or with slight variations, spontaneously and enthusiastically by the people.

In Tripuri language, song means 'Rwchabmung', the tune of Tripuri songs maintain the respective style in rhythm which is entirely based on their tradition.

Now-a-days, many Tripuris sing the Kok Borok (Tirpuri) Songs imitating the tune of other modern songs, especially the Hindi. This trend is found since the inception of Kokborok programme in the All India Radio Centre at Agartala. Apart from it, the music director of the present days, out of their artistic talent and capability compose new tunes. Notwithstanding the recent trend to imitate the tune of songs belonging to other communities, the original Tripuri songs are very much popular antorig the Tripuri people for their melodious tune and lyrical composition.

It is really impossible to identify the individuals connected with the composition of these traditional folksongs. From these songs, one can have a glimpse of the ancient constitution of the society, its environment and livelihood. These folksongs also throw light on their desire, achievements, sorrow, happiness and also their short comings. Modern Tripuri songs are composed with new words and tunes but it cannot be denied that sometimes we find more pleasure in old rhymes in old tune.

The folk songs of Tripurä, as of any other region, depict a many sided picture of the people of the land, and its social, ritual and religious structure. Although Tripuri remains a spoken language only or what we call a dialect, yet their folk literature is quite rich. The folk songs and tales display profound thought and imagination, and have a beautiful rhyme. The spontaneous flow of songs one bears on any religious or social occasion leads one to believe that the Tripuris possess an inborn capacity to compose songs and verses. The unsophisticated village people, particularly the simple and charming girls, express their imagination, love and sorrow through songs and tales. The Tripuri mothers give instruction to their daughters and sons-in- law and daughters-in-law through their songs. Moral lessons are imparted to the youth and children through tales. The green valley, river banks, uphill and the meadows echo and re-echo the sweet and delightful songs of the Tripuri girls. The melodious bamboo flute (sumui-banshi) accompanying the songs provides a serene atmosphere. Throughout the day the people in the village toil hard, yet they-particularly the younger ones-steal time to compose and sing songs. It is difficult to convey, in translation the exact meaning or the rhythm of the folk songs; however, the two specimen below may give some idea of the charm of the Tripuri folk song.

The folksongs are classified according to the subject or contents it conveys. Due to lack of space only a few folksongs of different variety are cited below with illustrations :-

Different Type of Songs                                                      Go to Top

1. Jadukolija or Jaduni :
This type of song is based on love and romance. All types of songs are used to be sung with the same musical voice.

2. Resekhagra:
This type of song is usually sung with a plaintive tune for commemorating a person after his death. Generally when some one dies fighting in the battle field for the country. It is very pathetic and heart throbbing.

3. Chamaritunmani :
 This song is usually sung on behalf of the grooms party to the groom on his departure for service as 'Chamari' for short duration(1-3 years) to his would be in-law. The song is sung on the basis of the grooms party called 'Chamaritunmani'.

4. Hamjuk Rohomani:
After the marriage when the bride gets ready for departure for her husband's house at that moment this song is sung. The bride is the 'hamjwk'. The tune of the 'hamjwk rahamani' is melancholy.

5. Hachwg Kamani :
At the time of passing though the hill with the load of luggage they sing these songs to get relief from the fatigue casued by long walk. The tune they follow for singing such song is called 'Hachwk Kamani'.

6. Kuchung ha-Sikam:
It is noticed that during the reign of king Dhanya Manikya, it was ordered to conscript at least one male person from each family to fight against the Sikam (Kukis). Accordingly, his messenger came and forcibly took away a male from each family to join the royal force. A folksong was composed on that background. This folksong is usually sung on a tune which is called 'Kuchung ha Sikam'. The tune is very heart touching and melancholy.

7. Waying Khilimani :
Waying Khilimani is a song of lullaby. At the time of lulling a child the song is sung. The tune is named 'Waying Khilimani'.

8. Mamita :
After keeping the new Crops in the granary a ceremony is celebrated which is known as 'Mamita'. The tune of the song which is usually sung during 'Mamita' festival is called Mamita tune.

9. Garia Ruinani :
During the 'Garia Puja' festival the song is sung on a tune which is  called Garia Rumani.

10. Longoi Chokmani:
The little children make a cradle to play with each oilier. On the cradle one child sits and the other one pushes it from the rear to make it swing. At the time of wavering the cradle, the child who pushes it sings a song. And this type of song is usually sung or, a tune which is called 'Longoi Chokmani'.

Love song:
In the month of May-June, the young boys and girls work in the jhoorn field and stay in a bamboo house built on a raised platform of split bamboo and laid on a bamboo frame called Tang-ghar. The young girls send their invitation through songs to the young boys:

 Narrow, my dear, is your Tang-ghar (Gairing), Full of flies and other insects. Ours is big and broad, Come, my dear, to ours. We would offer the nuts that we keep in our bosom. Oh! Please do exchange a few sweet words of love and charm.  With those who would offer nuts from their bosom.

The word 'nuts' here has a double meaning. In one sense it may mean love from core of heart. In another, it may mean a small-nut-container usually kept inside the risa (ri-cloth or garments, and SSa-something small i.e. a small piece of cloth (medium size  muffler) used as Chest garment). A young girl will not offer nuts from that container to anyone other than her loved ones.

The song continues:
it is now the turn of the young man to reply:

I can come to your Tong-ghar, But I am afraid of my parents, Who would take me to task?

If I visit yours. If you would like to offer me your nuts, Send, my dear, through the wind.

Which would carry them to me. A bamboo-shoot could be easily cut, But the dews out side it fall off Before it could be cut; So do tears escape from my eyes Before I can pour out my feeling. What to do? I am at a loss. Send, my dear, your ri-sha for rubbling off my tears, And do meet me at the path-corner, If you want to say a few sweet words- yours and yours only.

 In the months of Agrahayan, Pous and Magh (November through January), the jhoom fields remain dew wet. The tree leaves are filled with dew drops. The birds dip their body with dew drops. The Tripuri poets call it Taksa Tiari , that is, the ponds where chirping birds sprinkle their body with dew drops. The present of dew drops confirms that the beloved has not yet trodden his way through the bushy path. The jhoom girl spends her time in anxiety for her beloved, her heart throbs for, who knows, her beloved might be in danger. She yearns for a union. When will he come into her courtyard tuning the melodious bamboo flute (sumui)? She prays for a meeting with the boy so that she could offer the flowers in her hand-the flowers that she had collected so assiduously for him and for him only.

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The girl sings:
With dew drops the tree leaves are filled into them the chirping birds dip. But this morning's dew drops are still there, The birds have not taken their bath, And my beloved has not yet trod the path. Haven't seen today my beloved and haven't any peace of mind. My anxiety knows no bounds, Oh my dear, And I am so worried for your welfare Heaven knows what misfortune is waiting for me, Oh God, let him return to my courtyard with that sumui melody, I'll offer unto him the flowers that I gathered for him and for him only.

The song:
Aichug da bagkha togle kochegkha, thuma sichana nangkha. Maio babu song chamalai hanta bono khibina nangkha. Babu tui nungma tilok twi bukcba bono tui khogna nankha.  Kalam farjagyea Ligilagayana bonoba farna nangkha. Mairang hantao mishrum pungoi thangara malbai naikha. Tagma sagwnang mishrum warkhai togsarog pungbai naikha. Ganing nugulo wakmasaganang war jagai kengai naikha. Aaichug bachadi gatio thandi darna tui kogna khaigdi. Mai bai mui kwthar songdi. Khwna fung Aiwoi sala payasani togsa togtuirog bachaiasani hug nailai nani himdi. Maio babuni tangbitirogno bono chung tangna Nango. Maio kok sama kokbitirogno khwnaoi kha chobna Nango.

It is dawn : The cock is crowing : It is time to get up from the sleep. The stale dishes of last night's dinner are to be washed or ants will gather around the dish. The water vessel of my father is t be filled Up. The dirt in the house, it is to be broomed. Otherwise, the house will become unclean. If the ants bite the chickens they will begin to clamour. Under the veranda of the 'Gairing' (first floor hut, made by bamboo) the pigs arc kept and they will cry out loudly if the ant bite, get up quickly. Go and bring water from the bathing ghat. Cook rice and curry. Let's go to see jhum' (shifting cultivation) before the beasts and birds awake. We have also to do the work of the parents. You have to carry out the advice of the mother whole heartedly.

The significance of this song:
Previously the Tripuris were mainly dependent upon the 'jhum' cultivation to maintain their livelihood. They worked hard at their jhum' since early morning to noon, That is why they would take cooked rice and curry along with them to their jhum for meal. Here the husband draws her wife's attention to her works and duties through this song.

The song :
"Aichug bachanai tagwla sano twama kok bai loibno, horo chamani lai hantarogno thongoro hanta kawlai tongmano, thongor farjakya ligilagayno. Nukhungni samung tangthai tangmano tangwi ang paikha bono. Mai kwthar songoi thapao tangwi Angle wansugo mogwi. Kwna fung awiwi hug naina fano tawma mui mungno songno. Sawoi rwjadi ano.

Hugni mui kwthwng songnani khaiba mui kwthwng daarogya tifun. Laifang boogli tawnai sangnabo maifang chamrakti foon. Muia kwranno chakhwi sonogna bo chakhwi chamayati foon. Chakhwtui kwthung songoi tuinabo maichu wchayati foon. Twma mui mungno songno?"

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Flow shall I thank the cock, who helps me to get up from the sleep at dawn with his crowing. I have finished all household works, I have cleaned the rubbish and washed the stale dishes of last night's meal. After cooking rice I am now thinking what curry I shall cook. If I cook 'jhum' products the cultivation would be abortive. If I prepare a curry with banana tree, the 'jhum' paddy would be shedding oil if I prepare chawkhoi (a type of curry prepared with filtered water of the ash i.e. alkali) with young bamboo it will not be taken. If I cook chawkhoi twi kwthwng (a curry which is similar to chawkhwi prepared as soup type) it will not remain on the leaf. Alas I what curry shall I prepare?

The significance of the song:
The wife here relates her duties to her husband through this song. A traditional restriction was imposed on Tripuri jhum cultivators that at the time of searching land for jhum any vegetables could not be prepared. The intrinsic meaning is that, the vegetables they cook for their meal at jhum will not grow in jhum. The wife knows well what curry she has to prepare, but is customary to ask her husband and ascertain what curry she has to prepare.

The song :
'Bolong kwchangtotho Hachugo huloksa pungkha. Nobar bai blai narjagma nugwi  khapangba narjag thangkha. Bolong mwkhwra pungo Mwswi ha-forwi pungo, bolong ni toksa sagfang chikonsa khapangni kokmung sa-o. khwnowai khapangao chudi, khwnowai kha-o wansugwi naidi Ma Fa tanglangma tangbiti rogno tangwi chalangna fano wansugwi naidi bono."

The forest is looking so peaceful and beautiful in all dimensions. On the hill the owl is hooting. The tree leaves are shivering in the air. My mind is also dancing with joy at this sight. The wild monkeys are chattering. The deer is barking and striking his hooves on the ground. The little birds of the jungle are exchanging their hearty talks with each other. Listen wi iii heart and think thereafter. Think, the work of the parents and how they worked to maintain their livelihood.

The husband through the song expresses his great delight on seeing on  natural beauties around his new jhum field. Along with his expressing the beauty the jhum field he reminds his wife again of her duties.

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 The song:
"Thadug dugkolog basogong khabaikha, Bisi thangyada Nwng hin?

Ma-Fa fwrwngma kokbitirogno twma  tentaio ma hin?

Chwngno fwrwngwi tentaima noba twma khontai rwma hin?

Ma-Fa talangma tangbitirogno chwngle tangnani nango,

Ma-Fa chamani chabitirogno  chwongbo chanani nango

Ma-Fa tongmani tongthog tongmano chwngbo tongnani nango."

The potato creeper is not growing well. Do you not know the year is almost over ? Why do you think the advice of the parents as scolding ? Why do you think their advice with a little bit of scolding a poke ? The way father and mother work, we too have to work in similar ways. The way father and mother eats, we too have to eat in that way. The way father and mother maintain the family with joy and sorrow, we also have to maintain the family in the same way.

The inner significance of this song is the desire of a newly wedded husband to get his wife's warm company. But he cannot do so as his parents remain present along with them at the time of working in the jhum. When he goes to work in the jhum field then the parents and other guardians remain with them.

The song:
"Harung ha kwchang Badia maitang

Saichung rawoi de mwchang

Kwnwikha baksa khapang kha thansa

Thanwi chamani kisa

Wansugwi angle khatang

Kotog rang bwtang bukcha ani tatang

Ahai tongwi de mwchang

Wansugoi angle khatang"

Is it pleasurable to harvest alone the badia paddy of the lunga? It pleases me to think to work and live with the beloved. Is it nice to look at the naked neck ever without the chain of coins? The mind becomes restless if it is thought.

It is a love song sung by a girl for her dear. They love each other deeply. But there is no scope to come openly into contact with each other. In this situation, the girl at the time of working on jhum field expresses her desire to her beloved.

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The song:
"Ani huchungo sabo hug hognai, watwi kwilaio rai rai. Khani borokno sabo kok rwfai  muktwi kwlaio rai rai. Hapung hor thuya muktwrwi maya,  Wansugmang bwkha paiya. Khapang ni borok bwkha paijagya, Saichung wanama thagya. Yakni badukhung twinani boya Toksa rangini togya, khogwi tubuna boya, Swaoise hamlang lia."

 Who is working near my jhum, I see the muli bamboos (a kind n bamboo) bend down one after the other. Some one negotiates with sir beloved for which my chest is filled with tears. Sleep hunts my eyes day am night, but I cannot close the eyes, I cannot think out any solution for it. It is not a bow used for shooting small pebbles that I will carry in hand. It is not a wild cock either that I will hunt. I get no pleasure to say more.

Here the boy expresses through this song his mental agony related with the hurdles in his love affairs. Somebody has negotiated with his beloved for marriage for which his heart is heating. He cannot sleep throughout the night thinking of probable separation with his beloved and unable to reach any conclusive decision. The problems that developed before his low affairs still remain unsolved. He suffers mentally. To expose his mental agony he opines that it is not a bow that he will bear in hand or a cock that he will hunt.

The song:
"Kuchug kheregbar bubar motomma bahaikhe kholang nani. Bolong boltuku nana faijagwi jwngjalo kwlaimani, kuchuk kherengbai gonta yasukya, gonta bai khona buya, motom twilwlwk bahaino manwi khapang kha bathaglia, duksa duktwirok wngmani twlai buduk sotoro khamun, bufang chikonte wngmani twlai tanfaiwi khollang khamon."

How shall I pluck the kherengbar flower (a kind of Orchid flower) which has bloomed so high. After coming to the forest for collection of fire-woods, what a danger I have fallen in It has bloomed so high that I cannot reach it even with a stick. My mind is pleased highly with the fragrance of that flower. If it were the flower of a creeper, I could have plucked the flower by pulling the creeper. If it were a little tree, I could have plucked the flower by cutting the tree with a chopper.

 It is also a love song. Both the boy and the girl love each other but they cannot come closer due to some inhibitions. Here the boy expresses his fascination for the girl and frustration of his love. He loves her so much but cannot bring his lady love to him as so many hurdles are raising their heads. To make one understand his delicate problem he compares it with a flower that bloomed so high that cannot be plucked as it is out of reach. lie also confesses his incapability to overcome the hurdles. He remarks that it if it were within his control he would have solved it.

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The song:
"Nabrabari mufleng wasung,

Nwngbai ang ba tongma saichung.

Nini bai ani chini bug ari

Malaina jaga huchung.

Faidi Nwng aro saichung

Angba thanganw saichung,

Khaphangni kokna swbai salaina

Nini kha mude muchung,

Angbai malaina nini kha tongkhai

Kiria, faidi saichung."

As the bamboo pipes used for cooking the curry are thrown helter shelter by the house so I and you are also remaining alone in the jhum. The jungle which stands on the boundary line of your jhum and mine, we will meet in. You go there alone, I will also. Don't you want to make me know your hearty talks? You shall go there, if you wish to meet me, Don't he afraid.

 Here the two lovers are willing to meet each other. But they cannot do so openly. Here through a song one hints particular spot where they will meet.

The song:10
Haduk duk kolok buduk bangbaikha

Sabo hogjanwi wngkha

Lama kufungwibolong khanai kha

Sabo hogjanai wngkha.

Khorogni nokhai kichigna naikha

Sabo waui rwnai wngkha

Khapang wansugwi takmani waisa

Kosom palini risa sorterwi

Thaipolk barni nokhai horterwi

Himna ang muchung mani

Swbano salang nani.

All the road is covered with creeper plant. Who will clear it? The Jungle spreads all over the road, who will clear? The langa (a type of busket made of cane) of the head will tear, who will join it. Yesterday I wove a 'risa' (Chest fastener) with great care. Fastening the 'risa' on my breasts along with the 'langa' made with the design of chalita fruit I want to walk with him, whom shall I offered my mind.

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Here the girl conveys her thoughts to her dear through this song. When she crosses her old jhum to find a place for new jhum, she sings for her dear and her lover hears it. She expresses her desire to walk with him fastening breast fastener along with the langa made by her with the design of chalita fruit. But she cannot do so as all the road is covered with bushes.

The song: Lullaby:
Mwnai ta kabdi waying thudi

Mwnai ko Mwnai Mwnai,

Mwkhang batasa satung koganw

Chongkhreng ni  sati hungdi

Mwnai ko Mwnai Mwnai,

Yakurai kwchak sumuk nanganw

Rangchakni yaklab kadi mwnai,

Nwfabo thahngkha rajani sebuk,

Nwmabo thangkha rajani daijwk

Nakhwwrai ta khaidi mwnai

Mwnai ko mwnai mwnai

Ranchakni waying rufaini buduk

Wayingo thudi mwnai.

Mwnai don't cry; sleep on the swing. Your face looks round like batasa (a type of sweet), sunlight will fall upon that face, so you open your rainbow type umbrella which is painted with different colours. The soles of your feet are red, the dust and sand may fall on them, so put on golden shoes. Your father has gone to attend king's work, your mother also has gone for the same. Now without being obstinate, you go to sleep. There is the Golden rope in the silver swing, you go to sleep on that swing.

Generally the aunts of the kids sing this type of lullaby by swinging the cradle after keeping the child on the hammock with a view to lull the baby.

Song: Mamita:
"Chalai sagbaksa khapang kha thansa chwngle kwthalai faio. Nogfang nogswkang kham tenggwi naio. Bufang tongwise buthaiba thaio, bufang kwrwi-o de thai. Baiya tongwise chwng habfaio, kubun jagawo habya.

Nogfang nookswkang swkal thurifnag nogode tongbai nogbang? Kissib bangkhab hai  dogar chwngnugo, hatina chogwoi nogsinggo haba thongo fupla baio. Mai gola songwi Maigola sangwi Nogfang kha tongthog naio. Nogbrabari swkal thurifang dogar fiogdi nogfang. Satogna faia pitogna faia, sagchalai nogo faio. Bachwi kotorda kumui kotorda halog kusuda halog chayada,  sabo tong nogni nogfang. Nagbrabari swkal thurifang dogar fiyogdi nogfang."

We, the brethren and friends have to come to your house. We shall test the house owner. Where there are trees, there is fruit, without a tree there can be no fruit. So we have come as brethren and friends'. We do not go to other places. The witches are in the front of and near the house. Is the owner in the house? The door of the house is looking like a fan. Shall we enter the house by digging the foundation? If so, the entire house will collapse. The granary is full of paddy, that is why the house owner remains in pleasure. The witches are in the front of and near the house. The owner of the house opens the door. We have not come to do any harm. We have come to the mates who remain within the house-elder sister-in-law or younger sister-in-law brother in law or younger brother in law or anybody else either senior or junior in relation. The witches are in front of or near the house. Oh; house owner, please open the door of the house.

After the new crops of the year are kept in the granary this ceremony is celebrated. The boys of the village participate collectively in this occasion. In this occasion they visit to a resident's house collectively. There they sing and take meal and drink collectively along with owner of that house and come back. But sometimes, the house owner, is not at all interested to open the door on such occasion Then the party tries to compel the house owner to open the door with this type of song which is mixed with jokes. In some cases if the house owner is determined not to open the door then the party forcibly enters the house by breaking the door. They take meal and wine collectively and sing songs and dance thereafter in that house. Of course, the part there after has to repair the house.

Traditional Musical Instrument:
There are many traditional instrument which were played by Tripuri People. On the passage of times most of such instrument are not being used by the new generation people as a result, these musical instrument are being wipped out from the world. Most  of Tripuri people now do not even know the names of such instruments and existence of such instruments. Most of the Younger generation do not even recognize these instruments. Some musical instruments are specific to the types of folk dances. Some of the instrument's photo images are given below.


Sarinda or Saina