Video & eBook | Reviving the Huka Banam: Fiddle of choice for the Santal communities – West Bengal

The Huka Banam has been a Santal tradition, particularly among the community in Purulia and Bankura. Since the last two decades or so however, the tradition has gradually become extinct. Only a handful of old timers are still familiar with or continue to play the instrument, with possibly a few younger exceptions.

This workshop was organized as a response to this decline – hopefully the first of several such initiatives, so that the Huka Banam tradition can truly be “revived”.

Source: Reviving the Huka Banam – YouTube
Date Visited: Sun May 21 2017 18:29:34 GMT+0200 (CEST)

“My (mobile) browser fails to display embedded media content” | Tips >>

The banam is an ancient fiddle like instrument played by the Santals. Of the 14 different instruments they play, the banam, is the most revered. The Santals play this generally one-stringed instrument as an accompaniment to their songs and dances like the Dasae, Sohrae, Don, Lagre and Karam.

Source: Foundation >>
Date Visited: 29 March 2021


The Banam of the Santals is a primitive folk fiddle which accompanies many Santal dances. The Banam comes in various shapes and forms – Dhodro, Huka, Kendri and more recently, Phentor. While the Dhodro Banam is prevalent in in Birbhum and Bardhaman, in Purulia and Bankura, the Huka Banam was once the fiddle of choice. […]

Early in 2016, in collaboration with Anthropological Survey of India
we organized a workshp, reintroducing the Huka Banam to its stakeholders. […]

When we asked the students why it is that they had not attempted to learn earlier, when they were so interested and evidently talented, we were made aware of the unfortunate truth. Most of the Santals in  these dry and arid areas  struggle to eke out a living […]

Music did not pay and so had to be practised in their free time. Where was the time to learn something new? […]

Daricha  Foundation  has been  in touch since then and true to their word, they have been practising. And the gurus have promised to continue teaching. […]

In fact, this amazing experience taught us how important it was to encourage more and more Santals to get back in touch with their age old tradition through workshops such as this. In the near future, hopefully, it would not be only the tamak and the tumdak drums that would be heard during their festivals, but also the music of the Banams.

Source: Final report 2016 © courtesy Ratnaboli Bose, Daricha Foundation | Backup (PDF 1,5 MB) >>

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Find publications on India’s tribal cultural heritage

Related posts