Uttarakhand is divided into two prime areas, Garhwal and Kumaon. Each province holds a beauty of its own and effervescence of the natural beauty that lies in this region has been showcased in the music of the land.
Uttaranchal is the land that played host to some of the great warriors and the legends of these great rulers have been passed on through folklore and songs. Not all the folk songs have been dedicated to the monarchs alone. They were also used to portray the vivid natural beauty that engulfs the entire province. There have been songs to exemplify the large variety of flora and fauna, the magnificent forests and the abundant rivers that take shape in the very hills of Uttarakhand.
There have also been songs that exemplify the different seasons and the different customs followed by the people. Further, there are songs that depicted the different festivities observed by the people of Uttaranchal.
The folk songs are a rendition to the different customs and traditions followed by the hill people. They have formed the very bedrock of stories and legends and propagated from one generation to the other in a melodious manner.
On a broad estimate, the folk songs Uttarakhand fall into three categories, Mandal, Panwaras and the somber tones of khuded, jhoda and thadya. It is by the usage of different and rare musical instruments that Uttaranchali music is deemed unique and exclusive. Instruments such as damoun, daur, bhankora and ransingha are rarely made use of in conventional music and hence there is a distinctive tone and tenor to the music from Uttaranchal.
As in the case of music from different parts of the country, the folk of yesterday has blended with the music of today. It is therefore seen that the music heard from the various sources is a fusion of the sound of folk with the music of today.
There have been some notable contributions made some of the great musicians of yester years. Prominent among them is Mohan Upreti who is renowned for rajulu malu shahi ballad. He has deemed as the principal voice of Kumauni in independent India along with Gopal Babu Goswami.
Over the years, there have been several changes in the representation of music in Uttaranchal. There are several songs that have been dedicated to soldiers who have left their families behind.
There has been a marked difference in the penetration of Garhwali music with the advent of technology.