I walked back wasted after descending from the summit of Tadiandamol. I chose the wrong date. It was the season of rains and people were not encouraged to go. But rebels are rebels. It took me time to get a dozen creepy leeches off my feet and the slippery slopes kept me thinking as to what I had just overcome. I was picked up by a Mahindra Thar. The driver was an ex-Army officer with whom I had one of my most engrossing conversations. He said “I started to love my culture after I started getting posted at different corners of the country. At a point, I realized that the culture that Southern India is so unique that you move from a state to another and you see a completely different way of life.” That is definitely not even a bit untrue. It is best to say South India is well “equipped” with facets of culture that makes it so remarkable that within this country, its South is a different world altogether. And their music is beyond compare! When having a conversation on the folk music of India, it’s virtually impossible to miss out on talking about South India. From the diverse variety of the Indian musical instruments used in their music to the versatility in vocal range exhibited by the singers, South India effortlessly takes a very important position in the enriching the folk music of India. Let’s explore more!

1. Karnataka


Karnataka boasts of a fortunate custom in the domain of folk music and traditional music. The rich legacy of the music of Karnataka can be attributed to the Vijayanagara and Woodeyar rulers who themselves were incredible examples of music and writing. These administrations boosted the development of conventional music and energized promising musicians. With that, Karnataka has made a considerable commitment to the development of the type of Indian classical music which we know today as Carnatic music. To find this, backpackers and travelers choose places like Hampi and Coorg as they still remain exotic and traveller-friendly.

Where to Find Music?

  • Mangalore
  • Hampi
  • Coorg
  • Bijapur
  • Mysore
  • Hubli

Musical Instruments Used :

  • Violin
  • Veena
  • Udukkai
  • Thavil
  • Shankha
  • Nadaswaram
  • Mridangam
  • Morsing

Folk Music Festvials :

  • Hampi Festival : October – November(3 days), Venue : Hampi
  • Kambala Festival : November – March (Harvest Season), Venue : Kambala
  • Ugadi Festival (Kannada New Year) : March – April, Venue : throughout Karnataka

2. Telengana & Andra Pradesh


Andhra Pradesh is rich in its conventional folk works of art. Folklife and folk workmanship are indivisibly interwoven with each other. Folk music is the music of the majority. Each occasion of life has a special folk tune related with it. They are sung during celebrations, the approach of a new season, the birth of a tyke, or everyday issues from teasing a loved one to appreciating nature. The most loved methods for appreciating someone on any events are folk melodies. Individuals assemble at one place on any occasion or it is even possible that it might be an upbeat or pitiful minute. They begin singing and through these melodies they express their joy or distress. There are likewise folksongs on journeys, medication, cremation, marriage, folklore, and cradle-songs. The most popular among the town folk are tunes on gods and parodies of town life, country melodies, folk for labourers, and humour.

Where to Find Music?

  • Vijayawada
  • Tirupathi
  • Vishakhapatnam
  • Lepakshi
  • Hyderabad

Musical Instruments Used :

  • Violin
  • Veena
  • Nadaswaram
  • Mandolin

Folk Music Festivals :

  • Deccan Festival : Second Friday, Saturday and Sunday of April every year, Venue : Qutub Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad.
  • Lumbini Festival : December, Venue : Hyderabad and Nagarjunasagar
  • Tirumala Tirupati Festival : October, Venue : Tirupati
  • Sammakka Saralamma Jatara : February, Venue : Medaram Village, Telengana
  • Bathukamma : September – October, Venue : throughout Telengana

3. Kerala


Kerala has a rich tradition of folk songs and anthems, a large portion of which are sung in local dialects. With the evolving times, these songs have wound down in fame. Gone down progressively through generations by a vibrant oral tradition, the creation of the vast majority of these songs is obscure. The types of folk music in Kerala are Christian songs, Carnatic, Vadakkanpattu (northern folk), Kathakali and tribal music. Rock and metal music, over the years, have also influenced parts of Kerala like Trivandrum.

Where to Find Music?

  • Kochi
  • Thissur
  • Varkala
  • Trivandrum
  • Kozhikode
  • Munnar

Musical Instruments Used :

  • Chenda
  • Edakka
  • Kombu
  • Kurum Kuzhal
  • Maddalam
  • Mizhavu
  • Panchvadyam
  • Pulluvarkkudam 
  • Thayambaka 
  • Thimila 
  • Shankhu 

Folk Music Festivals :

  • Onam : August – September, Venue : throughout Kerala
  • Vishu : April – May, Venue : throughout Kerala
  • Ambalapuzha Arattu : March – April, Venue : Arattu, Trivandrum
  • Aranmula Uthrattathi : August – September, Venue : throughout Kerala
  • Attukal Pongala : March, Venue : Attukal temple
  • Adoor Gajamela : January – February, Venue : Parthasarathy Temple, Adoor
  • Kuthiyottam and Kettukazhcha : February – March, Venue : Chettikulangara Temple,  Kayamkulam
  • Chittoor Konganpada : February – March, Venue : Bhagavathy temple, Chittur

4. Tamilnadu


Tamilnadu is profoundly established in an extraordinary tradition of folk art and music, which show the traditions and abilities that have descended from generations. The folk music of Tamil Nadu speaks of the ethos, tasteful values, and tunes of the locale. Traditionally, folk music is conducted during festivals and community gatherings.

Where to Find Music?

  • Chennai
  • Kodaikanal
  • Rameshwaram
  • Ooty
  • Pondicherry
  • Madurai
  • Coimbatore

Musical Instruments Used :

  • Silappadikaaram
  • Yaazh
  • Veena
  • Thamburas
  • Vangiyam

Folk Music Festivals :

  • Pongal : January, Venue : throughout Tamilnadu
  • Tamil New Year : April, Venue : throughout Tamilnadu
  • Natyanjaili Dance Festival : February – March, Venue : Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
  • Thaipusam : January – February, Venue : throughout Tamilnadu
  • Thiruvayaru Festival : January, Venue : District Thanjavur, Tamilnadu

All the above cultures added together constitute what we know today as “the rich culture of South India.” No wonder the contribution of the South stands at the highest when the whole country’s talent is taken into consideration. The most important thing that must be appreciated in this culture is the urge to keep the traditions alive. And thus, this culture owes its survival to its people, like all cultures should.
To read more on the regional folk music in India and where you can listen to them, check out the links below :

  1. North Indian Folk Music
  2. East Indian Folk Music
  3. West Indian Folk Music

Hope you enjoyed the tunes!


Author gostops

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