Algoza-World Music

I chose a video of an instrument called the algoza, which is an aerophonic instrument, which is a double flute. It is a Punjab woodwind instrument adopted by Sinhdi folk singers. It uses only five tones of the musical octave. One of the flutes is for a drone and the other is playing the melody on top of the drone. The player plays it using three fingers on each hand to play the melody. An expertise player can play the instrument using circular breathing. The instrument is made out of bamboo and is usually decorated with strings hanging off of the flute.

This instrument is found in the rural parts of Pakistan, India, and Punjab. This instrument was originally used to tell folk tales of Soni, Mahival and Mirza, Sahiban, which are both old tales of the Punjab. These are two of nine tragic love tales that have been passed from generation to generation using the algoza to tell the story. It has also become very popular in contemporary Bhangra music in the UK. Bhangra music first started in the 1960’s when several Punjab bands started experimenting with playing more western styles in the music. When these bands started experimenting with a more western style, the music had more of a rock feel in the music rather than a folk sound. Bhangra is a mix between Punjab and western style music. It became wildly popular in Britain and replacing the Punjab folk bands because it had rock sounds in the music instead of the repetitive sounds of the Punjab folk. The 1980’s became known as the golden age, or referred as the age of Bhangra music by the “bhangraheads”. By this time the music had changed so much that the original folk instruments including the algoza were rarely used at in the music. The very first Bhangra boy band was the Sahotas, which was a mix between Bhangra, rock, and dance. By the 1990’s Bhangra music took a turn back to the original folk sounds which used more dhol drumbeats and tumbi and more uses of the original folk instruments including the algoza.

The people who play this instrument for folk tunes are called the Langhas from Rajasthan. They are a muslim community found in Gujrat and Rajasthan in India. The community sings and plays music while entertaining the Sindhi-Sipahi, which is a community of Muslim Rajputs, who act as their jajmans (patrons). The Langhas are a community of folk musicians that play for others. They play at weddings as well to set the mood with songs of the desert.

The Algoza is a mystical instrument played by old groups that are very experienced players. The level of talent to play this instrument is high and has been passed down from generation to generation to pass the old stories along to others.


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