Dayam Khan ManganiyaR
Dayam Khan Manganiyar hails from the village of Jalela in the Barmer district of Rajasthan.
Dayam usually sings in the traditional style of the Manganiyar community, in the Marwari language. The Manganiyar musicians come from the deserts of western Rajasthan. They have traditionally performed songs of praise, epic ballads, songs of love and loss and songs on the occasions of life-cycle events such as births and weddings, for their patrons - Rajput royalty and nobility. They were also their genealogists. Over time, they have also begun singing Sufi, Ghazal, Qawalli and epic songs and ballads in Sindhi and Punjabi. On the Fruited Thorn, Dayam sings "doha" - literally meaning "of two". These are couplets that are sung from smaller sections of poetry, usually snippets taken from epic ballads or tales.
Dayam can recall the names of his ancestors for up to 10 generations, all musicians. He is also quite certain that members of his community were singing for many centuries before that.
The role of the Manganiyar is key in traditional Rajput families as they are the "official" musicians for their patrons on all key events of their life. In western Rajasthan, the Managniyar are considered to be extremely important by their patrons. Hence, right after the Ganesh Puja (ritual prayer), a patron is very likely to do a Puja of their family Manganiyar musicians and their instruments.
Manganiyar musicians are considered professional artists and their songs are inspired by folklore, epic stories and the lives of their patrons. They also sing songs of saint-poets like Kabir, Meera, Dadu, Surdas as well as the songs of the Sufi saints. Their style of singing (and their music) is distinctive and particular to their community.
There are other musician-poet communities, like the Meghwal and Jogi communities. They are not considered professional musicians. (Only one other community carries the same professional status as the Manganiyar - the Langa. They also hail from western Rajasthan and traditionally perform for their patrons)
Women of the Manganiyar community perform as well, but only for the women folk of their patrons' families.
In more recent/ modern times, younger members of the patron families are less inclined to call upon the family Manganiyar to perform... preferring to invite singers of popular, bollywood songs. As a folk artist one does not do so well as other artists. Dayam says there is not enough appreciation in society for their music; its now a question of survival for them.
Artistic consultant & programmer
Festival director - Jodhpur RIFF