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Folk Music and Dances of Tripura


Tripura has a rich cultural heritage of different tribal communities, besides Bengali and Manipuri communities. Folk music and dances of Tripura are based on the different dance forms of the tribal communities. Music is mainly an accompaniment to dances and the musical instruments are made from bamboo and metal scraps. The musical instruments include flute, sarinda, drums, simple stringed instrument made of bamboo known as lebang and bamboo cymbals. Songs are mostly drones or chants, the livelier ones are for livelier occasions; they tell of the simple lives of the tribes, their hobbies, activities and hopes.

Music and Dances of Tripuris

Tripuris, the largest of the tribal community, entertain Garia deity for seven days with songs and dance. This is performed in April month for a good harvest.

During the monsoon season, hordes of colorful insects called lebang visit the hill slopes in search of seeds sown over the hills. This is an occasion for merriment for the youth. While the young men make a particular rhythmic sound with the help of two bamboo chips in their hands, the women folk run over the hill slopes to catch these insects.


Music and Dances of Reangs

Hozagiri dance is the most importance dance of the Reang tribal community. In this dance form, the movement of the hands or the upper part of the body is somewhat restricted. The main movement beginning from the waist down to the feet creates a wonderful wave.

Standing on an earthen pitcher, with a bottle on the head holding a lighted lamp, the Reang girl dances twisting the lower part of the body rhythmically.

The Reangs use musical instruments like khamb, flute and cymbals.

Cakma Tribe

The Bizu dance is associated with the Cakma Tribe. It is performed in mid April. Cakmas sing and dance to bid goodbye to the year just ended and welcome the New Year. The dance is beautifully orchestrated with the rhythmic playing of what is known as khenggarang and dhukuk (kinds of flute.)

Malsum

Malsum of Halam community performs their famous Hai Hak dance during the harvest season (Jhum cultivation). It is a community dance of exquisite beauty. Rhythm of the dance reflects the tradition inherited from the distant past.

Lusai

The welcome dance of Lusai community of Tripura is very famous. It is performed whenever any visitor pays a visit to the house of any Lusai. In this colorful dance, the young girls of the entire community take part. The dress of the girls are colorful and they wear fragrant flowers.

Mog

The traditional dance of Mog community is known as Way dance or lamp dance. This is performed in front of a Buddha temple in the month of October during the Way festival.

Notes taken from Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IV – India Heritage Research Foundation – Page no 138 - 39.