Bankura has always nourished all sorts of performing arts like music, dance, and theatre etc. since the ancient age, which naturally brought out several individuals to the limelight of the Indian cultural scenario as an intellectual creation.
The one and only classical musical 'gharana' (style) was evolved at Bishnupur, later renowned as 'Vishnupur Gharana'. Its originator was Ramsankar Bhattacharya, who wrote several Bengali lyrics based on classical music and composed many songs in Bengali and Sanskrit. Later his disciples enlightened the musical arena with their talent. Among other famous singers of this district, Jadubhatta was the music teacher of Rabindranath Tagore, Ananta Bandopadhyay & Gopeswar Bandopadhyay were well-known singers. Also Becharam Chattopadhyay, Rammohan Chakraborty, Maniklal Nag, Gokul Ch. Nag, Akinchan Dutta and then Radhika Prasad Goswami, Girija Sankar Chakraborty, Lalit Ch. Mukhopadhyay, Jogendranath Bandopadhyay etc. enriched the 'Vishnupur Gharana'. The artists outside the 'Gharana' were Gyanendranath Goswami, Ramesh Bandopadhyay, Satyakinkar Bandopadhyay, Onkar Chattopadhyay and Debabrata Sigha Thakur. Another noted singer was Kanika Bandopadhyay, still unique in Rabindra Sangeet.
The culture around theatre, plays, pala-gan etc. was alive since long ago. Various theatre (Jatra) groups were formed at Bishnupur, Simlapal, Chhatna, Indus, Rajagram, Sonamukhi and Bankura proper. These groups were invited to perform from place like Tripura, Koochbihar, Maimansingha (Bangladesh) etc. The very first theatre group in Bankura was "Arora Gosthi". Renowned playwright Khirodprasad Bidyabinod was concerned with "Durga Opera". The one act play was staged at Bishnupur in 1916. In the year 1937-38 the ladies from Bhattacharya family were first to perform at the stage in the play "Taser Desh". The first Santali play was performed at Ranibandh and Raipur.
At present some amateur groups from Bankura Town, Rajagram, Chhatna, and Bishnupur etc. still hold the tradition of Jatras in the district. Southern and western part of Bankura is gradually excelling in Santali Jatras. The play "Dain"(witch) written by Tilak Hansda of Sarenga village has been awarded recently.
Besides songs and Jatras, there were tradition of 'Panchali', 'Kathakata', 'Kabigan', 'Keertan' and 'Hapugan' etc.
Presently 'Hapugan' has become obsolete though others are still in existence. Many folk singers composed songs for the cause of freedom. Mukundadas composed the famous heart-touching song 'Ek bar biday de ma' and later Charankabi Baidyanath also composed many revolutionary songs.
Songs remains lifeless without dancing. That dance also got the cultural priority from the ages is evidence from the engravings of the temples of Bishnupur. Several terra-cotta engravings and sculptures with the musical instruments and in dancing fashion in those walls are the proof of age-old cultural heritage of Bankura. Another proof for the existence of art of dancing in Bankura is legendary dancer of the court of Bishnupur "Lalbai". Sitaram Das, the poet of Mangalkabya, sang his mangalgan and danced with it in the surrounding villages of Indus. The other dance forms except classical dance are 'Kathinach', 'Bandarnach (Monkey-dancing)', 'Kora-der-nach', 'Ghora Nach (Horse-dancing)', 'Naachni Nach' with jhumur, 'Sanger Nach', 'Pata Nach' and the dance with Latta songs etc. The festive dancing style is seaworthy at Jaypur, Kulara and Ayodhya area. The tribes are still carrying this passion of music, dance and the rhythm of 'Madal' like the blood circulation in their veins. Dulali Saren adds the glory to the prestige of the district by getting silver medal for 'Santali Nritya' at Nikhil Bharat Bangya Sahitya Sammelan.
Presently many cultural organizations in the district came forward to protect our cultural heritage. All over the district several schools are providing training and teachings of drawing, painting, singing and dancing etc. We the peoples of Bankura feels proud for today's singers like Rabi Bagdi, Debabrata Singha Thakur, fine art painters like Biswarup Dutta,etc.
Debabrata Singha Thakur,
Basudev Ghosal etc.
Gurudas Mukherjee, Sadhucharan Das,
Barna Chakraborti etc.
Rana Mukherjee etc.
Gopal Nag, Dilip Nag, Dr. Sidhartha Gupta, Sri Jhum & Bamapada Karmakar .
Biswarup Dutta, Basudeb Chanda & Premashis Sinha etc.