Women drummers come to town

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Women drummers come to town

An all-woman troupe from Kerala treated Delhiites with  a charming performance  of Shingari Melam.

Their steps matched the reverberating sounds they produced on Cheda, the special instrument suspended from their necks. The almost two-feet-long wooden drum, was played in rhythm by female musicians. As the tempo of the beats picked up, the magic of Cheda – used in Southern states during celebrations in temples was evident on the faces of the listeners. 

And though Cheda’s music was a new experience for percussion lovers of the Capital, it was enjoyed thoroughly. The women’s troupe came all the way from Kerala, to give a charming performance of Shingari Melam, a popular percussion ensemble of Kerala.  Performed at the IGNCA to highlight the role of women in cultural heritage, Shringari Melam was only one of the acts. Women artists and folk art performers from all over the country took part in this unique celebration called Bhoomika. The week-long celebration also saw artistes from the Northeast performing the bamboo dance. 

Besides dance, handicrafts made by women were also a major highlight. Artists showcased their art and craft through wood carvings, Warli art paintings and tribal art (from Madhya Pradesh), clay modelling and basketry at an exhibition held simultaneously.

The festival also honoured veteran women artistes from different spheres of art and culture for contribution to their respective fields, and included the internationally acclaimed Kalevala dancer Gumboot, Durgy Bain of Bhopal for her tribal paintings and Bhuri  Bai for her beautiful murals. 

Depali Khanna, member secretary, IGNCA while talking to Metrolife about Bhoomika, observed that, “It is probably the first time in Delhi that so many women artists came together on one platform. We are delighted that they participated whole-heartedly in the festivities. Women have played an intrinsic role in preserving the cultural heritage of the country. Their contributions in preserving the social and cultural fabric are significant and need to be recognised,” she says. 

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