The Rhythm in the Air

THE sound of Bollywood music always merges in Mumbai’s air, be it any festive occasion, wedding or any other traditional celebration but what is most rare and thrilling to hear is the sound of live music of the local instruments played or local Marathi songs such as bhajans (devotional songs).

Bhajans are sung so stunningly with basic musical instruments such as:-

Taal – a pair of clash cymbals

Pakhawaja – a two-headed barrel-shaped drum

Ektara – a one-string instrument

Tanpura – a long-necked plucked string instrument

Chipli – an instrument made of wooden fist with metal ringers

Harmonium – a small manually-pumped musical instrument with fixed reeds

Tabla – a pair of hand drums of dissimilar sizes and timbres

These songs relocate a person spiritually into an opulent world of music. I have had very rare occasion of listening to such authentic music but these rare instances has pleasantly persisted in my mind.

Very recently, I was passing from a particular place and from a distance I could hear the loud vigorous beats of the dhols echoing to vibrate the surrounding. Dhol is a double-headed drum played using two wooden sticks. I was naturally drawn towards the direction of the energetic sound. There were several groups practising for the Ganesh Festival or Ganesh Chaturthi, a  Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God Ganesha’s birthday (I was here just I day prior to the commencement of the festival). Dhol is a primary instrument played during this occasion in Maharashtra.

The girls in a particular group were playing the dhols very enthusiastically. The sound of the dhols was equivalent to their lively energy, for the first time I inaudibly heard the sound of freedom.

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To conclude, its pure magic to hear the rhythm of these dhols, to listen to its beats you surely have to attend the festival.


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