One of the most colourful, rhythmic songs of the Bhatiali group is Sari, sung during boat-race in East Bengal. The song is initiated by a leader standing in the midst of a party of boatmen pulling the oar on the water with beats. Series of sounds in water with rhythmic strokes on the flanks of the boat in a quick tempo. They repeat the leader’s loud song in chorus along with beats. Series of sounds in water and on the boat-side get mixed up with occasional yelling. The subject-matter of Sari is a down-to-the earth thing.

As regards the structure of Bhatiali tune, it may be explained in terms of two modes; firstly, it is in Bilawal That. This means the music starts from the note F (m) of the higher octave with address or exclamination and gradually descends to the lower notes in a drawl. Secondly, the tune starts from the top C (Sa) and D (Re) and gradually descends over the notes of the middle octave in a similar manner to the tonic C (Sa) and then it gradually goes down to the lower octave below tonic C and finally, touching B flat (n) the tune would stop at A (Da) of the lower octave. In the latter case the tune belongs to Khamaj That. For use of the notes below C (Sa) and for some other characteristics the tune is considered to be Raga Jhinjhoti familiar in Bengal. Suresh Chandra Chakraborty refers to the latter as raga Kasauli-jhinjhit.

Thus, the tune on the medium and top octaves represent feature of composition of basic notes of Bilwal and appears to be a blending of ragas like Behag-Pahadi-Jhinjhoti etc. On the whole, it does not satisfy the condition of the structure of a raga. Therefore, Bhatiali maintains an individuality of its own in tune pattern. The alankara-s (graces) include a few groups of trembling notes which look like Taans, may be these are in tune conformity with certain Tappa Taans, spontaneously developed. Sources of these are not known. If the old run of the tune and its local peculiarities are examined, then it would be conceded that Bhatiali was not influenced by Tappa or vice versa. A Geetkari, as used in most medieval music, is used in many types of songs as the only decorative element.

Bhatiali has extended its influence on all types of songs of East and North Bengal. Further, its influence on the rhythmic-patterns of various music-types of those regions is manifest. Some rhythmic patterns and stray fragments of tunes are combined to build songs in full. Occasional break in the voice and in syllables of words, pronounced with rhythmic break in tune, make these songs colourful. Bhatiali was brought to the metropolis roughly by 1930s and some songs were composed in the same mould. Later Abbasuddin Ahmed, Sachin Deb Burman, Girin Chakraborty and some other folk singers introduced Bhatiali - Bhaoaia tunes in popular music. After 1947 singers from East Bengal have stationed themselves in Calcutta. All sections of Bhatiali have been widely popularised through commercial records and radio. But personal touch-up on the original tunes by artistes produces distortion in the form. Singers often lack the sense of the need to preserve original of local colour. This is no doubt harmful to the form of music.


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