Video | The tarpa: A wind instrument unique to the Warlis – Maharashtra

Gangadharan Menon,, April 10, 2014 | To read the full article and view more photos by the author, click here >>

When we took part in various village activities, in different houses, it dawned on me that despite not having a caste division (they were all Warlis here), there was a clear division of labour. So there was the village blacksmith, the tailor, the cattle-rearer, the hunter-gatherer, the farmer, the fisherman, and even an expert who had the perfect antidote for treating poison bites.

But what amazed me was that none of the implements that were being used here were ‘bought’. They were all made by them. And necessity being the mother of invention, you could see innovation at its best. So there were separate baskets made of bamboo in two unique shapes. One for catching fish, and another strange-looking one for catching crabs! Then for trapping raptors, they had a quiver that had the resin of the mahua tree […]
When I started looking for Warli artists in this village, I was told there were none. […]
In the nearby town of Jawhar and the faraway Palghar, there’s a flourishing market for Warli paintings which makes young artists take up this art form as a source of livelihood.
And I remembered the words of Inir Pinheiro, the founder of Grassroutes that has been promoting village tourism with a missionary zeal for the last eight years. He had once told me, ‘We city folks should earn in the city and spend in the villages. That’s one way we can help the villagers earn their livelihood right here without migrating to cities looking for jobs. It’s when we come and live with them that we understand the joys of their simple living. This will even help them preserve their beautiful traditions, culture, music and art, as they greatly value our appreciation.’
This rang true all the more when I met Bhiklya Ladkya Dinda, the master of the tarpa which is a wind instrument unique to the Warlis. He was not a mere musician; he was a philosopher too. Taking a masterclass on his favourite tarpa (he had three of them), he first explained the intricacies of the two bamboo pipes. One he calls a female, and that produces treble. And the one he calls a male produces bass. Thus probably making it the only wind instrument with both treble and bass in the instrument itself! Then with a twinkle in his septuagenarian eyes, he said: ‘It needs a male and a female to make great music!’ […]
For the next 30 minutes he went into a trance and played such divine music that I felt fortunate to be living on this earth. There was a lilt and a rhythm inbuilt in his music, which made up for the absence of percussion, and he gently swayed to a beat that only he could hear.

Source: You’ve Seen Warli Paintings Before. Now Get Ready To Visit The Warli Tribe & Listen To Their Music. » The Better India Address : Date Visited: Tue May 27 2014 14:43:41 GMT+0200 (CEST) [Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

The Better India is an attempt to bring out the happy stories, the unsung heroes (and heroines!), the small good deeds, and showcase them to the world. Over here, you will read about the incremental progress being made by the people of this country, the developments happening on the social and economic front. We hope that by showcasing these here, we might be able to inspire at least one amongst you, the readers, to do something that leaves an impact. Small or big. But, an impact.

Source: You’ve Seen Warli Paintings Before. Now Get Ready To Visit The Warli Tribe & Listen To Their Music. » The Better India Address : Date Visited: Tue May 27 2014 15:12:47 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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