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Sikkim Musical Instruments

Sikkim is very rich in folk musical instruments, but it is very difficult to trace the first musical instrument of the state, because all primitive people all over the world seem to have made music of some sort. Folk musical instruments exist only in space, not in time. According to the myth of Mundhum of the Limboo community, the first musical instrument was a bamboo harp known as Simikla Koom (Binayo in Khas Language) made for their sister Tetlara Lahadongna, by the sons of Sawa Yukphung Kemba, namely - Samdang Khewa and Lingdang Khewa for their sister Tetlara Lahadongna in antiquity. The myth says that the next instrument was the Niyara Hongsing Ke of Lokpha Temba and Hongpha Temba brothers, who danced around the main pillar of the new house to protect the newly constructed house from the evil spirits. In another myth of Mundhum. It is also said that Yeba and Yema Limboo priest came to the village of Sawa Yethangs the primitive men with their gear Yegeysing pole tied with Niyara Hongsing Ke to drive away the evil spirits from the villages. Similarly, there are a number of myths about the origin of musical instruments amongst the different communities living in Sikkim in antiquity (Subba, 1999: 203-204).

The folk musical instruments of Sikkim could be classified into seven groups depending on Sur, Tal, make and ways of playing by the player on of the instruments as follows:

  • TALA
    • (a) String instruments played with scratching on the strings
    • (b) String instruments played with a bow, rubbing on the strings
  • SUSIRA
    • (a) Wind instruments played by blowing the air and tuning the node with fingers
    • (b) Wind instruments played by blowing the air without tuning the node with fingers
  • GHANA OR SOLIDS
    • (a) Solid instruments like sticks and cymbals played by beating with sticks or metals
  • AVANDYA- INSTRUMENTS OF PERCUSSION
    • (a) Hollow wood or metal drums covered one side or both sides with animal skin with Khari pasted on the Skin
    • (b) Hollow wood or metal drums covered one side or both sides with animal skin but without Khari pasted on the Skin

 

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