Bheth

About Bheth

Bheth is a sub-genre of Sufi music in which short verses (2-4 lines) of profound poetry are sung at a high note, autonomously or fused together with a Kafi or a Waai.  The difference between a Kafi and a Bheth is that the latter is a couplet while the former a longer form of poetry. In between each stanza of the Kafi, Bheths are sometimes sung. The style is similar to the system of singing Dohas before and in the middle of Bhajans. Referred to as Daneth Jats, a community involved in animal rearing, the trade of clarified butter and at times farming, inherited this beautiful art form from their ancestors the Jat Muslims who brought it from Iran via Sindh province in present day Pakistan, to Kutch in India.  Traditionally the Jat Muslims are maldhary or cattle herders and singing in this genre is a part of life for them more than being a performance. The melodic style of Bheth is embellished with the musical notes of the Surando, Ghada (earthen pot) and ghunghroos (ankle bells). Bheth is the rarest of music genres in India not only in terms of the character of its singing but also because the quaint art of playing the Surando which provides the lehra (successive playing of the same note to create a continuous milieu for the vocals) for Bheth singing perhaps has only one living exponent left. Brought to life in the provinces of Sindh and traditionally used by the Fakirani Jat community in the areas of Kutch, the melodiously rich Surando, a stringed instrument, is regarded to be tricky to master. Crafted intricately, the base of the Surando is fashioned from a single piece of wood to create the most precise shape and perfect melody and its bow is strung with hair from a horse’s tail. The lead Bheth singer renders haunting melodies in a high pitch but a soft, sonorous voice and rendering long, sustained notes is typical of his episodic, philosophical recitals.

Songs

Bheth Photos

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Bheth Album