Wedding Music: Traditions

Hello from IWA team,

Wedding music is such a colorful part of wedding celebration. Figuring out your wedding music selections requires a lot of thinking and planning.  Here are some ideas to get you going.

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Indian Wedding Music

What should Music selections for the wedding be like?

Since the wedding program entails several moods, you need to clearly pre-select your favorite music and label the play lists. Sangeet will need peppy, dance songs. You’ll need instrumental music like shehnai, sitar and other classical pieces as the guests arrive for the wedding. The wedding reception would require a mix of slow dance and foot tapping numbers. Sober songs and instrumental pieces would be appropriate for Bidaii.

Those sweet strains of Shehnai

Shehnai is a north Indian oboe that originated in the Kashmir valley. ‘Shah’ stands for the king and ‘nai’ is the flute. Its soulful strains bring
good luck to weddings and many an eye goes moist with emotion. If you can’t locate a shehnai musician, you can always pick up Ustaad Bismillah Khan’s CDs to make your wedding celebration alive.

Indian classical music selection for weddings

If you plan to usher guests in with traditional Indian instrumental music pieces, pick up Ustaad Bismillah Khan for shehnai, flute music by Pandit Chaurasia, santoor pieces by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and tabla recitals by Ustaad Allah Rakha and Zakir Hussain. Indian classical music has two genres – Hindustani or north Indian style and Carnatic that is preferred down south. For Indian classical vocal, go for Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Begum Parveen Sultana, Ustad Bade Ali Khan or Pandit Jasraj.

Ghazal selection for weddings

Ghazals are typically soft and smooth and make a fabulous backdrop to excited wedding banter. You can pick up collections from maestros like Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas, Ghulam Ali, Talat Aziz and Mehdi Hassan. Just be sure that you don’t play sad themes on a happy occasion. There are several ghazals on a range of positive emotions like love, expectation, hope and praise of beauty.

Bhajan selection for wedding ceremonies

Bhajans that sing praises of the almighty instantly create an atmosphere peace and tranquility before a puja. You can select albums of artistes like Hari Om Sharan, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Anup Jalota, Yesudas, M S Subbalakshmi and S P Balasubramaniam. You can even select bhajans according to the deity you believe in.

Songs for Bidaii or Vidaii

The mood at bidaii or vidaii is so somber that music serves the purpose of expressing tender emotions while lovingly sending off the daughter. Mohammad Rafi’s Chodd babul ka ghar is an eternal classic. Some of his other classics are Babul ki duaein leti ja and Chalo re doli uthao kahar. Babul ka ghar from the film Sainik is a more recent song depicting a similar emotion. Lambi judaii by Reshma, Chithi aayi hai by Pankaj Udhas and Sandese aate hain from the film Border also express the pain of parting

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IWA Team

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