Blowing of a conch-shell and/or ringing of a hand bell and/or singing a song to welcome the evening twilight in front of a tulsi plant is a nostalgic scene from India's past. For the majority of the young Indian population, this daily routine is only depicted on picture postcards or in Bollywood movies.
Folk songs in this book were recorded in the 1970's. Since Independence, India has been undergoing fast technological advances; a wave of new internationalism is absentmindedly sweeping away rural traditions. Singing and playing of traditional folk songs and ensembles for appropriate ceremonies are becoming less and less popular; instead, movie songs and modern brass bands are appreciated.
Each folk song in this collection is like an artefact in an archaeological museum. These songs tell the story and customs of celebrating life-cycle ceremonies, welcoming seasons, and retelling our mythology. The songs are given in vernacular Hindi language, transliterated, and translated, to facilitate understanding by readers with different backgrounds. The original field recordings have been deposited at the Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology of the American Institute of Indian Studies at Gurgaon, Haryana, India, where they are available for listening and recording details.