Everything You Need To Know About Tribal Music Instruments of Odisha
Everything you need to know about tribal music instruments of Odisha
Myself with a senior Kandha tribal artist playing ‘Decca’…..
Despite the severe lack of infrastructure (like connectivity to tribal hinterlands, non availability of nearby hospitals, disruption in supply of electricity, non existent telecommunication facility,non availability of schools for tribal children etc…) the indigenous people of Odisha have never forgotten to go for merrymaking while going through the hardships of life.. They always want to enjoy life through dance and music , which in other way inspire the city people. Happiness is truly a way of life.
Both tribal dance and music complement each other . It can be compared to heart and soul of tribal lifestyle. Tribal dance and music are not simply types of amusement for them. It is inseparable piece of their social presence and it is a method of declaring and building up linkage with their genealogical legacy. Among the different tribal clans, everybody is an artist and a poet . When joyfully enlivened, they can coin a tune without further ado and sing it instantly. They display delight and joy by forming tunes with hand constructed instruments .That might be romance, anger, humour, criticism,satire, acquisition, sympathy & empathy and so forth.
Here I have tried to focus on some of the indigenous musical instruments of Odishan tribes , which are widely used by those blissful creatures under the sun.
Gagerai ( Two stringed instrument)
This instrument is largely used by the Lanjia Saora indigenous tribal community, living in large concentration particularly at Puttasing & Renjigtal near Gunupur and Serong area of Gajapati district.The ethnic name of this two stringed instrument is Gagerai . It is made of bamboo, dry gourd, monitor lizard skin( locally called godhi) , iron wire and palm thread . It is normally played by the male Saora people during the time of dance , being performed by the female Lanjia Saora people.
Saoras with their Gagerai, Image:EZCC
Basi ( Flute)
This is nothing other than small size flute and these are profoundly used by the Kutia Kandha people.These people are largely concentrated in Belghar & Tumudibandh of Kandhamal district and lanjigarh of Kalahandi district .The ethnic name of this musical instrument is ‘ Basi’ . It is made of bamboo and its outer surface is beautifully carved with geometric motifs through iron stylus.
These flutes have only four holes.
The Kandha people use it in different occasions but the prime occasions are during dance festival and while watching the harvesting of their agricultural produce.
Ga-a-ni ( mouth organ)
Dongria kandha youths of Rayagada district are very fond of playing ‘Ga-a-ni’ ( ethnic name) with the help of mouth for influencing the Dongria damsels in their Dhangdibasa (youth dormitories,where Dongria boy and girl stay prior to marriage to know each other). This music instrument is nothing other than country style mouth organs.The video is attached for your reference.
Ghumura( Single Membrane Drum)
This musical instrument is a kind of very unique single membrane drum ,made of earthen ware and monitor lizard skin. The ethnic name of this musical instrument is ‘Ghumura’ which are predominantly used by the kutia kandha community, living near Lanjigarh of Kalahandi district. This is also played by Gond community as an accompaniment to festive dance.
During the time of different ethnic dance events( particularly during Ghumura folk dance) , the men hold this instrument close to their chests and use to beat the drum in both of their hands while the women dance.
Ghumura tied to their chests while performing, Image: EZCC
Tetedupe ( Horn Trumpet)
This particular musical instrument is largely used by the Lanjia Saora people of Gajapati district. They use the horn of buffalo for this purpose and use brass nozzle on the tip of the instrument as the mouthpiece. The ethnic name of this buffalo horn instrument is ‘Tetedupe’ , which are used during different festive occasions and during hunting expeditions in the forest . This is also used to gather community members for meetings or to welcome a guest.Now a days, Saora people have started using brass trumpets in place of their traditional horn trumpets.
Lanjia Saora people with their brass trumpets, Image: EZCC
Changu ( single membrane drum)
‘Changu’ is an integral part of the Juang community of Gonasika Hill range in Keonjhar district . Normally ‘Daman’ wood and goat skin are used for making this instrument. The unmarried youth ( Dhangda) of Juang community believe that ‘Changu’ music has got a mesmerising power over the unmarried Juang girls ( Dhangdi)and they use to play this particularly during evening after a day of hard labour to draw the attention of ‘Dhangdi’ in front of Mandaghar( youth dormitory) . The Juang people make their own ‘Changu’ out of wood and siali Lata for securing the goatskin hide.Jirika gum is also used to paste the seasoned goat skin.
Dhak ( Double Membrane Drum)
‘Dhak’ is made of tree trunk and cow skin, by the cobbler community of ‘Santal’ tribe of Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj district. Beeswax is applied to control the tone of the membranes.
The name of these double membrane drum is ‘Dhak’ but the male people use to play with only one side of the ‘Dhak’ at the time of dance.
Banam ( string instrument)
Generally utilized by Santal Community of Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj. This instrument is made of wood, goat skin and pony hair and is predominantly used to play love numbers and different other songs.
Jajinga (Wooden clapper)
These wooden clappers are generally utilized by Dongria Kandha of Kurli locale of Rayagada region. This is better known as jajinga in that locality and are played on schedule with the music during moves to praise a marriage in the village.The video is connected for your reference.
This creative high quality instrument is to a great extent utilized by Chuktia Bhunjia people group of Sunabeda locale of Nuapada region.
Cunningly created out of bamboo to frame a resonating chamber, this instrument was played by the Chuktia Bhunjia while guarding the fields at night.The video is appended for your reference.
This flute is different from ‘Basi’ ( flute of Kutia Kandha community), though both are made of bamboo . This is a kind of flute having 6 holes, used by Mankirdia community of Jashipur in Mayurbhanj district ( unlike Basi which is having 4 holes).This flute is played by the Mankirdia as musical accompaniment during different festivities. The video is attached for your reference.
Some other musical instruments like Tamak, Tapka, Dhulki etc.. Image: EZCC
Koya tribals with their bison horn headgears and double membrane drums,
A Kandha senior tribal artist playing Kendra, Image: EZCC
A Kandha tribal playing ‘ Ganilaudi’,
This senior most Kutia Kandha artist of Kandhamal district ( Odisha, East India) told me that … this ‘ Decca’ music will be extinct after his death, because no one else of his community will be left to carry forward this art of playing ‘ Decca‘.😢😢
The tribal folk artists have maintained a rich tradition over the generations . But with the passage of time, the urban encroachment has become a threat and a hardcore reality of today’s times. Many tribal youths have already left their age old traditions & craftsmanship and fled to different cities in search of better livelihoods. Proper archival attention to conserve their rich tradition is the bare need of the hour. Does not it become the responsibility of the government, the immediate civil society and all of us together to keep these tribal artists tied to their traditional habitats ? Please never forget to give your valuable opinions in this regard.
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Dr. Manoj Mishra