Tappa The tappa is said to have developed in the late 18th Century AD from the folk songs of camel riders. The credit for its development goes to Shorey Mian or Ghulam Nabi of Multan. Tappa literally means ‘jump’ in Persian. They are essentially folklore of love and passion and are written in Punjabi. Its beauty lies in the quick and intricate display of various permutations and combinations of notes.
The compositions are very short and are based on Shringara Rasa. It is rather strange that even though the Tappa lyrics are in Punjabi, Tappa is not sung in Punjab. Varanasi and Gwalior are the strongholds of Tappa. Bengal has also been greatly influenced by the Tappa style, where Ramnidhi Gupta created a special kind of songs, called Bangla Toppa, after the same kind of music from Punjab called Shori Mia’s Toppa. He set his romantic lyrics on melodies, which were based on Hindustani classical music. Later his songs became popular as Nidhubabur Toppa.
Even today these kinds of songs are heard in Bengal, especially in Kolkata. But the numbers of both the exponents and audience of this kind of music are waning fast. Chandidas Maal is one of the last few performers of these songs. Other persons who created the same kind of songs in Bengal include Sridhar Kathak, Gopal Ude and Amritolal Basu to name a few. Some of the eminent tappa singers include Krishna Rao, Shankar Pandit, Nidhu Babu, Mian Gammu, Shadi Khan, Babu Ram Shai, Nawab Hussain Ali Khan, Mammi Khan, Chajju Khan, Sher Khan and Girija Devi.