Boliyan or Bolis are couplets that are sung in Punjab.
A Boli expresses situations, their emotions and their typical situations. Usually a boli is sung and introduced by one woman, and then the other girls form a chorus.
These boliyan are usually passed down generation by generation orally. This forms a continuous and successive chain, each generation being taught by their predecessor. It is through this process that boliyan have refined and passed on from long ago. Now, boliyan have been fused with Bhangra music to spread all over the world to North America, Great Britain as well as Australia and New Zealand and mixed with all the cultures it interacts with. This has created a modern, urban style bhangra genre that is listened to by more than just North Indians.
Artists such as RDB have fused the urban style of the United Kingdoms hip-hop music with traditional Punjabi beats and lyrics which models the new bhangra genre that is described above.
Although women mainly sing boliyan, men also do. His Hit Smash Kulwinder Dhillon, was launched by his song Boliyan.
"Jaago" the night before the wedding, the awakening night is when all of the family join together and sing boliyan, to celebrate the joyous occasion. The first boli to be sung on the Jago Night is Jago Aiya- which translates into the following: Jatta Jaag Vey. - All you Jatts Wake Up ''Hun Jaago Aiya. - For the Jaago has come Shava vey hun Jaago Aiya. - Wow, just look, the Jaago has come. '' Lori de ke paiya'' '' uth pau gi'' '' addiyan karu gi'' '' chukni pau gi'' '' Jaago aaiya'' '' Jatta Jaag Vey'' '' Hun Jaago Aiya"
Although commonly women do giddha and sing'' boliyan'', in the Malwa region, in lower Punjab, men sing the boliyan. They also do Bhangra dances to accompany the Boliyan (see Malwai Giddha).
Boliyan were started by the Punjabi ancestors. Their women would sing boliyan to express their emotions and feeling, or just for fun. Nowadays there have become even more popular, as they mark one's heritage.
To give boliyan more depth and strength, the vibrant colours of the girls dyed salwar kameezs brighten up the surroundings. The brighter the dresses the more visible the dancers.
The folk dances have boliyan as their composition. It is these boliyan that enlivens the mood of the dancers
They are traditional but time has made changes in them too. The boliyan are not composed by a professional person only. Even a farmer contributes to them. They have a uniform rhythm, and often their appeal is enhanced by a meaningless rhyme added to them. Almost all folk dances are performed in circles. Whilst dancing the giddha, the women sing in sonorous voices, to the accompaniment of the dholak (drum), ghadda (pots) or to the beat of clapping. The leader (woman) of the chorus sings the boli, which the chorus repeats. The ghadda is played by gently striking a ring or a small stone on it in keeping with the rhythm. It helps to build an atmosphere of gaiety.