Imphal, Oct. 25: A 15-day workshop on making indigenous musical instruments of Manipur has raised hope of not only preserving those tools but also creating more artisans.
The workshop, organised by Tribal Museum and Research Centre, Imphal and funded by Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal, began on October 14. The workshop will conclude on Sunday with the presentation of a fusion music using the newly made instruments.
The workshop organisers have engaged a music director to create the fusion. An Imphal-based orchestra group, Rhythms of Manipur, will test whether the instruments can be used.
“We are planning to make at least 50 indigenous instruments during the workshop. The instruments belong to various tribal communities and Meiteis. These include drums, flutes, string and wind instruments,” the director of the centre, Yumnam Gyaneshwar, said.
The centre, a private institute, earlier conducted two workshops with funds from Sangrahalaya on wood-carving and indigenous metal craft creations.
The objective of holding the workshop on making indigenous instruments was promotion, preservation and documentation of the instrument, he said.
“There is a threat to the existence of indigenous instruments and western instruments are making inroads. In addition to this, the number of artisans who can make indigenous instruments correctly has come down over the years. So, we want to teach youngsters how to make the instruments,” Gyaneshwar said.
Altogether 30 expert artisans, three resource persons and 10 trainees are taking part in the workshop.
The main attraction is a giant-sized drum made out of a giant tree bought from Senapati at a cost of nearly Rs 1 lakh. The drum locally named khong is 7.5 feet in length and the circumference is 3 feet.
“Such a large drum is available in the Manipur capital and Andro village in Imphal East. In earlier times, the kings’ men used the drum to spread important messages, including declaration of war, to the subjects,” K. Tomba, an expert on drum, said.
Bamboo, cattle horns, cattle skins, logs and animal parts like the bladder of a pig are used in making the instruments. Experts said these instruments were mainly used during rituals and festivals.
“I feel happy to take part in the workshop and making a large indigenous Liangmei drum. In our village in Tamenglong district, people have small drums, as large logs are hard to find. The workshop will benefit the people and those learning the art of making the instruments,” N. Keihotdin, who is taking part in the workshop, said.