Traditionally, Jhumur was an oral tradition. Its origin dates back to the pre-Vaishnav Padabali period (15th century onwards). The songs are soulful manifestations of people’s everyday life, strife and tribulations. This common thread of emotion lies at the heart of Jhumur’s popularity. Jhumur has a vast repertoire. It crossed the confinements of villages and reached the cities by early 19th century. It occupied an important place in the entertainment scenario of 19th century Bengal. The songs are written in local languages like Kurmali, Santhali, etc. The simple lyrics depict the joys and sorrows of the rural people and are traditionally based on mythology. The art form is hugely influenced by the Vaishnava Padabali and Jhumur songs are sometimes based on the stories of Ramayana.
The instruments used are dhol, harmonium, tabla, mandira, madol and flute.
With time as the ways of life changed, Jhumur being an integral part of the lifestyle of indegenious people also became contemporary. Keeping the tunes and rhythm of the songs intact the concepts became modernised. The songs about the celestial love of Radha – Krishna were replaced by human relationships of present day. Today, Jhumur speaks about topography, geographical location, daily work and social issues, sometimes in a satirical manner.