India | Nagaland

Drum of the Nagas

The drum is an important musical instrument in the lives of the people of Nagaland. Apart from its usual function of giving rhythmic accompaniment during dances and festivals, it is also used for special rituals. Each ritual or ceremony has a particular kind of drum associated with it.

In the event of the death of a village leader, the drum is beaten to pay homage and respect to the deceased person. It is a belief among the native people that during solar or lunar eclipse, the sun or the moon is eaten by the tiger. During this particular event, they beat the drum to invoke Goddess Lichaba to protect the sun or the moon.

A drum is constructed from a single log of dry wood measuring at least 2 ft long with a circumference of about two and a half feet. The ends are made narrow and hollow. The hollow parts are covered with leather or cow hide, which are stitched tightly with cane fibers. The drum becomes usable once the hide dries.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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