Music in the streets of India

Untrained, unrestrained and unrefined yet, true, raw and direct from the heart. That's street music.


Busking though sometimes looked down upon as a lesser form of art, is a lot more than that.
It’s the amalgamation of local culture and life with the authentic colours of the street.
Creative, indigenous, intricate musical instruments mirror the multifarious dimensions of an artist.
Lets’ explore the street music of our vibrant nation. Starting from the hills of the north and gradually traversing south.

In Kashmir the Saaz is used to render Sufi poetry, that’s ‘ibadat’ and ‘aqueedat’.
While in Himachal they sing about nature, naivety and rural life.

In the North East, beyond the rock bands, the Garo and Khasi hills are home to unconventional raw instruments (at times just bamboo sticks) and melodious music.

The streets of Bengal are a blend of ‘Baul’ and contemporary music,
historical poetry and reinvention. Baul is a unique art form yet to go mainstream.

In UP and Delhi, Nautanki is a predominant busking practice in the rural regions of UP.
It is also house to Ghazals and Quwallis and Bhajans. The Harmonium is the common link between them.

Each tribe in Jharkhand, Orissa and M.P. and Chattisgarh region has their own form of music and that is what goes to the street.

In Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, the folk tunes, intertwined with the Rawanhatta and the Sarangi present a delicious feast for the ears. So let’s look beyond the Bhangra beats and Padharo Mhare Des.

Maharashtra and Goa. Goan street music has its root in western music. Jazz, Rock; the streets have it all.
Maharashtra is a mélange of all the commonly heard music in the county, thanks to Bollywood.
But the Puneri, Nashik and Maval dhol forms heard around the state during Ganesh Chaturthi and Janmashtmi are not to be found anywhere else.

Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Let’s look beyond the Carnatic violin and Nadaswaram, the street is full of interesting fusions and unique stringed instruments.

Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Streets predominantly are in perfect harmony with the heat and humidity of the region. Panchavadhyam, Thappattam Karakattam, each can set your feet tapping. Fun, devotion and folk tales all are conveyed with an ecstatic beat. So get the drums along.

This short list can never cover the entire solfege of the streets extensively. The purpose here, is  to initiate you on a journey of traditional music forms. To ensure that the guy playing on the railways is at least noticed next time, if not thoroughly appreciated.


( Image credit :, youtube,,,