Sounding like a tiger: Rare musical instruments of Bardoli region – Gujarat

SURAT: Even as the government spends crores on promoting tourism, its most ancient folk culture is dying a slow death. Within villages around Dang, traditional instruments and artists are waning.

Cultural music and dance forms among the adivasis have evolved over centuries. Beautified by elements and nuances of their surroundings, these forms depict their very lifestyles. Played for hours together in the same tempo, music is an integral part of celebrations and mourning.

Vikram Chaudhari, associate professor in P R B Arts and P G R Commerce College at Bardoli who has closely observed adivasi culture and has documented it for University Grants Commission, said, “Unique instruments like ‘tingri, pavri, kahel, tarpu, nal dholak, change dhol, nagri, kikri’ with their distinct sound are prepared from natural elements like wood, bamboo, gourd, plants, animal horns, feathers, leather etc. They are considered divine.”

Each instrument has a purpose and belief related to it and they call for agile fingers, sturdy nails and strength of breath. Chaudhari who hails from Padamdungri, mentioned how the playing of Dera – exclusively a woman’s art – is now almost non-existent. Made out of a mud pot, decorated with flowers and limestone caricatures, it has two teak leaves through which a strong string of natural vine is passed and fixed tightly onto a long peacock feather. When played, this instrument produces the sound like that of a tiger.

Traditionally, during Vagh Baras, the women would take such Deras to the outskirts and call upon a tiger by playing it. Only after an actual tiger would come and touch its tongue to the Dera, would it be taken across every home in the village playing out the tune to a song especially penned for it. This would go on for a week until Bhai Duj. […]

Source: “The ailing art of adivasi music” by Ashleshaa Khurana, Times Of India, Jan 30, 2014
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Date Visited: Sat Feb 08 2014 19:23:32 GMT+0100 (CET)

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