musical instrument has a very strong relationship with Nepalese
culture and religion. Nepal has a lot more tunes and rhythms
of its own to share with the rest of the world. The musical
traditions of Nepal are as diverse as the various ethnic groups
of the country. The most complex musical culture in the Himalayas
is that of the “Newars“ in the Kathmandu valley
and the “Damai” in the other part of Nepal, which
in the course of the past 2000 years has absorbed mostly Indian
influences in shaping a unique musical tradition. In Nepal
music has been flourished by mainly these two groups of people.
Newar’s culture flourished during
the late Malla dynasty from the 15th century up to the 18th
century. The Malla kings of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur
were devoted patrons of the arts and competed with one another
in the beautification and cultural achievements of their kingdoms.
Many of these Malla kings themselves excelled as musicians,
dancers, poets and town planners.
The Newars live in a Buddhist-Hindu area
where the two religions coexist along with a strong influence
of Tantric practices and local traditional cults. In the complex
Newar caste system both Hindus and Buddhists have found their
place. Many of these castes perform their own characteristic
musical repertory and ritual duties during festivals and processions.
Newar music and dance are always related to ritual and locality.
A portion of Newar music is secretly performed during esoteric
Bhaktapur, a Newar farmers’ town at
the eastern part of the Kathmandu valley has been able so
far to preserve its traditional heritage. In 1989 there were
still more than 200 music and dance groups performing regularly.
With the influx of tourism and western and far eastern technologies
this picture changes rapidly. It is conceivable that these
living cultural treasures may vanish within one generation.
For the future there needs to be an effective method for the
preservation of traditional music and dance.
The other group that has historic touch
with Nepalese music is “Damai”. From the prospects
of indigenous Nepalese rituals, culture and musical anthropology,
the linkage of traditional musicians seems to be tied with
the invention of "DAMAHA" (a flat drum generally
structured by wood or metal and sometime even by roasted soil
especially in "TABLA”, another type of flat twin
being used in Nepalese music.)
In Nepalese society, special group plays
musical instruments in ceremonies, occasions, etc. to perform
the rituals and tradition. These traditional musicians are
known as "DUM" as well as "DAMAI".
The Nepalese cultural way of perceiving things and words and
explaining and naming them, the word "Dum" seems
to be derived symbolically after the sound of the traditional
Nepali musical instrument "DAMAHA" in the sense
that if we listen to the beat of the "DAMAHA" the
sound produce is more or less like "DUM". Similarly,
the other word "DAMAI" denotes the functional linkage
between "DAMAHA" and the person who plays it. The
word "DAMAHA" is originated from "SANSKRIT"
language. In "SANSKRIT" the person who plays "DAMAHA"
is called "YAHA DAMAHA BADYATE". As per the traditional
way of synthesizing the long sentences in Nepalese society
the above three worded SANSKRIT sentence seems to be synthesized
and joined as "DAMA+YAHA" to indicate the drummer
and thus this word might have been converted as "DAMAI"
in Nepali language.
The early "DAMAIS" later invented
another traditional instrument like "sahanai". "DAMAIS"
have been playing these musical instruments like sahanai for
the generations in special MUHURATAS (time) of special sacred
ritual ceremonies like "BRATABANDHA"(a Vedic Brahmanic
Still today we can see “Damais”
playing musical instruments like “damaha”, “sahanai”,
“tanpura”, “panche baja”, “narsingha”
etc. in special occasions like marriage ceremony, bratabandha,
Nepalese musical instruments have great
importance in Nepalese culture and society. Nepalese musical
instruments are played in special ceremony like wedding, bratabandha
(a Vedic Brahmanic ritual), and welcome ceremony and in any
other ceremony or festivals. Different musical instruments
are found in Nepal. Most of them are produced in Nepal. Musical
instruments like “madal”(Two sided drum), "
sarangi" “damphu”, “damaru”,
“basuri” (Flute), “sarangi”, “pancha
Baja”, “ghunguru” (Ankle Bells), etc. There
are several Nepali instruments, which are unheard, untouched
and unexplored and Sarangi is one among them. sarangi musical
instrument is played by sarangi. Nepalese musical instruments
are enjoyed by all the Nepalese people especially on the occasions,
festivals, or any other ceremonies.