February 24, 2015

Dhunkel- Rare Musical Instrument from Western Odisha, India

'Dhunkel' musical instrument is also known as 'Dhanakoila'. It makes a continuous beating sound, with accompanying vocals praising the Lord. Things used for making of Dhunkel are Dhanu (Bow) and Kula (domestic utensil to winnow grain made of bamboo), covered over an earthern pot and a Dhunkel stick is used to beat it to produce a unique beating sound. This instrument is used in eastern, western, Southern Odisha. Watch this rare musical instrument being played:

In the video, the Dhunkel artist Sri Jalandhar Bag from Padmapur, Bargarh district, Odisha is playing Dhunkel sitting in the centre. He said he has learnt it from his father and maternal grandfather. Now only a handful artists remain in the district and it is an endangered art. As per tradition, it is mostly played during Dussehra in obeisance to Goddess Durga.

The other artists on stage are Bhalubansi and Brahmabeena artists. The three of them played by turn, starting from the Brahmabeena artist.

Fortunately, all these were played in Luptapraya Loka Kala Utsav [Festival showcasing Dying Regional Arts] organised by Odisha Sangeet Natak Academy and Department of Culture, Govt. of Odisha from 18-19 Feb 2015 at Bhanja Kala Mandap, Bhubaneswar and fortunately, I attended it and could record to share these rare arts with the world.

May the artists be encouraged further to keep this rare art of Dhunkel alive....


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