|Manganiyars are an ancient community of classical musical performers from the Thar desert of Rajasthan. They are Muslims who sing about Hindu gods|
I was introduced to the century old Manganiyar’s music through theatre director Roysten Abel’s grandoise production called the Manganiyar Seduction.
The curtains opened to reveal 43 Manganiyars, seated in 36 cubicles behind red velvet curtains. The set was a combination of the Hawa Mahal and the Red light district of Amsterdam.
And then the show began…
It was magical. And my jaw remained on the floor, from the beginning till the end.
The Manganiyars are an ancient community of classical musical performers. They are Sunni Muslims from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. Though they are Muslims their songs are about Hindu gods. They traditionally invoke the Hindu god, Krishna, before beginning their recital.
The Manganiayars play an instrument called the kamaicha — a stringed, bow instrument with skin membrane sounding boards. It is made of mango wood. The big, round hollow part on one end is covered with goat skin. It has 17 stings out of which three are made from goat’s intestine and the rest of the 14 strings are made up of steel. The bow is made out of horse’s hair.
The managaniyars also play the dholak — a double-headed barrel drum. morchan or the jaw harp, the harmonium and the kartal or wooded clappers — these are made of Sheesham wood.