The Sindhis are peaceful, hardworking, hospitable, open-minded community. They have build up the image of Indians abroad as a prosperous and dependable people. They are free from inhibitions of caste and creed. In Sindhi Temples you will find the images of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna placed, side by side, with those of Shiva and Durga and Guru Nanak. The Sindhis are cosmopolitan in their outlook. Someone said that today in India it is difficult to meet an Indian: every one belongs to one province or the other. The Sindhis are the only Indians in India. The Sindhis are an enterprising and industrious people - full of the spirit of faith and courage. They know the subtle psychology of influencing the customer. 'Sindhi merchants' rightly said an Englishman, know how to "hypnotise the customers".
What exactly does the word folk lore connotes? In its simplest manifestation it symbolises the culture of the unsophisticated, the expression, mostly in song and dance, of the customs, tradition manners, aspiration, almost the entire social and religious life of the people at all levels of the common man.
There is no country in the world, which has not been enriched by folklore, for folk-lore, despite the fact that it has not been looked upon as the intelligent endeavour of the literate, is in the point of fact, the very pulse-beat of the national conscience manifesting itself in song, dance, riddle, proverb and even in superstition. Every Sindhi likes HOJAMALO. The song, which pertains to the BAHRANO, is a very famous song of JHULE, JHULE, JHULE-JHULELAL. It is only a Sindhi who can interpret the spirit of these songs, though any one who listens to them will, almost without exception, be carried by its rhythmic beat like no other rhythmic beat in the world.
Like the Folk songs, the folk dances are equally rhythmic and equally enchanting. These may be rugged and simple in their rhythmic beats. But they are full of life and vitality. There is a dance JHUMIR that is a counter-part of the dance of Laada in songs.
Chhej is performed only by men. It is some what similar to Dokla Ras of Kathiawar, but considerably more intricate in pattern & steps and rhytmic beats. The instruments used are the SHARNAI and the DUDUL i.e. Shehnai and the drum. Another dance which is performed only by men is DHAMAL, performed by Fakirs and disciples of a particular shrine at the time when the flag of the shrine goes up. This is a dance which is characterised by a sort of religious frenzy and has, therefore, a very fast tempo. Nagharo (a big drum) instrument provides both the rhythmic beat and the tempo for the Dhamal.
There are many other dances, though the BHTAGA may be called the King-pin of them all. This is properly speaking a dance-drama enacted with the aid of song, Kalams etc.
Ladda Songs which are sung before the actual weddings, the very lilt of which suggests careless abandon and gaiety that mark a wedding. Sindhis are very famous for showmanship, and on the occasion of the marriage of the son, they will not hesitate to spend thousands of rupees only on decorations, music dance and photographs, movie and on video shootings, They call a Laada party of famous singers and enjoy the music one day before the marriage and even on Janiya (Thread ceremony) etc. The famous Laado SONU BAJUBAND, LADO PANHIJEE KUNWAR LAI AANEDO AND DHIKH JE RAAT LADE MUNDIYOON GHARAYOON, MOOML MANA NA KAR MARUN SA, ALLA SON JO RUPAYA etc. Many other Laddas are so famous among the Sindhis that on the occasion of the marriage, specially ladies and relatives are invited on Laada ceremony where they offer the GHOR of rupees on the bride-groom whose marriage is to be performed. There are many folk songs, and many dances are composed. We cannot ignore our humorous songs. To get back however to Sindhi song, which does not treat only of love, there are some double meaning FOHIRAS too.
Bhagat is an original and pure art form of Sindhi music and dance. This is one art form which can be truly called as Sindhi folk and meant for the masses. The mere announcement of a bhagat performance brought people from near and far off place. This song-n-dance extravaganza called for expertise in both forms namely singing and dancing. One without the other was no good. Mikes and sophisticated sound systems being not-existent in those days, it is rumoured that the bhagats of yesteryears could give many a Michael Jackson of Elton John a run for their money for not only was their singing soulful but it was loud and clear enough for a person sitting a quarter of a kilometre away from the singer.
The performances were usually held in the nights and lasted till the wee hours of the morning. Requiring a minimum of two or more performers from a band of six, this folk form was highly interactive and weaved in out from pure folk and devotional songs to narratives to stories thus giving wholesome entertainment rather infotainment to the crowds. Two-three of them are usually good singers with one being the lead singer and the other two known as peechhads or boliaraas (back-up singers). The lead singer or bhagat wore a chher, jamo, pagdi and kundal with a bright tilak on the forehead and sung in a style little bit similar to those of qawals. The crowd used to sit on two sides much akin to a fashion show with a ramp running into the audience. The bhagats used to sing and move back and forth in the crowd in the centre aisle. The back up singers usually stood in the back and faced the bhagat who would start of on a line with the back up singers interjecting with a simile or the latter half of a couplet.
Bhagat Kanwarram : Among bhagats, Sant Kanwarram was one of the most legendary performer who went on to become s saint for Sindhis. His soulful voice once brought back a dead child to life, a miracle many have seen with their own eyes. Especially known for his rendition of the Sur Prabhati (which is sung early in the morning), Sant Kanwarram was popular not only amongst the Sindhi Hindus but Muslims also. Besides Bhagat Kanwarram there were others who had carved out a niche for themselves. Notably amongst them were Bhagat Naru, Bhagat Jadaram, Bhagat Leelo (adh Kanwar), Bhagat Tharu, Bhagat Parso, Bhagat Motan, Bhagat Sobho, Bhagat Dharmu, Bhagat Dilo, Bhagat Shewo, Bhagat Dwaru, Bhagat Ghansho and Bhagat Khanuram. The back up singers sometimes dressed up as female characters also and they were most known by their nicknames. Notable amongst them were 'Shaman Guddi', 'Lal Chhuri' and 'Jalphatako'. The bhagats were in great demand usually at melas, annual darbar and dargah functions and sometimes for marriages also.