Lavani (Marathi: लावणी) is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument. Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm. Lavani has contributed substantially to the development of Marathi folk theatre. In Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh, it is performed by the female performers wearing nine-yard long saris. The songs are sung in a quick tempo.
Traditionally, this genre of folk dance deals with different and varied subject matters such as society, religion, politics and romance. The songs in ‘Lavani’ are mostly erotic in sentiment and the dialogues tend to be pungent in socio-political satire. Originally, it was used as a form of entertainment and morale booster to the tired soldiers. Lavani Songs, which are sung along with dance, are usually naughty and erotic in nature. It is believed their origin is in the Prakrit Gathas collected by Hala. The Nirguni Lavani (philosophical) and the Shringari Lavani (sensual) are the two types. The devotional music of the Nirguni cult is popular all over Malwa.
The ladies that perform lavani wear a long sari length around 9 metres. They form a bun (juda in Hindi or ambada in marathi) with their hair. They wear heavy jewellery that includes necklace, earings, payal, kamarpatta(a belt at waist),bangles etc. They usually put a large bindi of dark red colour on their forehead. The sari they wear is called navvari. The sari is Wrapped beautifully and is much more comfortable as compared to other sari types.