Dhakis for Durga: without skipping a drumbeat

The drums of Agartala’s dhakis are already pounding, with Durga Puja beginning on October 11. At other times, these drummers ply cycle rickshaws, or work as vendors, farmers, plumbers and electricians

October 8, 2021 | Sayandeep Roy

Peruvemba: struggling to retain its rhythm

With no sales in the Covid-19 lockdown, and difficulty in procuring rawhide for their bespoke percussion instruments, the Kadachi Kollan craftspeople in Kerala’s Peruvemba village are missing a steady income

January 19, 2021 | K.A. Shaji

The down but not out dhakis of the Durga Puja

The traditional drummers of rural Bengal are having a hard time in Kolkata this season

October 26, 2020 | Ritayan Mukherjee

In Tamil Nadu: playing Parai on lockdown, live!

Parai artists Manimaran and Magizhini are tapping into social media to continue performing under lockdown, and spreading awareness about Covid-19 through talks and recorded videos

April 4, 2020 | Kavitha Muralidharan

The bamboo drummers of Kasargod

In Parappa village of Kerala, men from the Mavilan Adivasi community drum on ‘grass’ during festivals and other events, and for the rest of the year these musicians are daily wage labourers

April 16, 2019 | Gopika Ajayan

The baja for the nacha in Achhoti
• Raipur, Chhattisgarh

The baja for the nacha in Achhoti

Every year, musicians from Dalit communities in western Odisha gather at a square in Raipur, and wait to be hired by OBC dance groups from Chhattisgarh

February 13, 2019 | Purusottam Thakur

‘The mountain, forest and streams are our gods’

The Adivasis of the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha won a victory in 2013 against mining, but the threats to their ancestral land remain. Rajkishor Sunani, poet-activist, sang about at the recent Niyamgiri festival

April 20, 2018 | Purusottam Thakur
Dancing to the dollu in Hesaraghatta
• Bangalore Urban, Karnataka

Dancing to the dollu in Hesaraghatta

Young women on the outskirts of Bengaluru excel at a Kannada drum-and-dance form long thought to be a skill for burly men. In the video here, watch the group perform with extraordinary energy and rhythm

November 14, 2017 | Vishaka George

Drums and dreams beyond pickle and papad

Battling barbs from villagers, abusive husbands, and centuries-old caste prejudices, ten Dalit women in Dhibra village of Bihar have formed a band – and now have many marching and swaying to their beat

August 3, 2017 | Puja Awasthi
Melodies of Mahila Holi in Munsiari
• Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand

Melodies of Mahila Holi in Munsiari

In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, different types of Holi are celebrated across many days, and the festivities are a time for the women in the villages here to dance and let their songs reverberate amid the mountains. A photo story for PARI's International Women’s Day series throughout March

March 17, 2017 | Arpita Chakrabarty
Dhol on wheels
• Birbhum, West Bengal

Dhol on wheels

Srilal Sahani is a fish-seller by day and an extraordinary musician by evening – he rides hands-off on a bicycle while playing a dhol and cymbals behind him – in Santiniketan, West Bengal

December 22, 2016 | Sinchita Maji

Bringing them to school singing and drumming

In Mawaiya Uparhar village in Uttar Pradesh, a student-led procession to promote the education of girls gave Mamta Nishad a chance to study further

November 11, 2016 | Saurabh Chandra
• Solapur, Maharashtra


A village crier in Solapur spreads messages to the beats of a drum

September 27, 2016 | Namita Waikar
Drums, bagpipes and Choliya dance
• Bageshwar, Uttarakhand

Drums, bagpipes and Choliya dance

Choliya troupes in Uttarakhand integrate Scottish bagpipes into rural Indian music

April 2, 2016 | Yashashwini Raghunandan & Ekta Mittal
A different kind of drumbeat
• Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

A different kind of drumbeat

Two young girls at Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam play the mridangam

November 13, 2015 | Namita Waikar
• Thoubal, Manipur


This traditional drum of Manipur's Meitei community is central to their culture, and to spectacular music and dance

December 31, 2015 | Anubha Bhonsle & Sunzu Bachaspatimayum
Kali dances – Thappattam
• Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Kali dances - Thappattam

Watch Kali Veerapadran – perhaps the only male dancer who has mastered the classical dance form Bharatanatyam, as well as three ancient Tamil folk dance forms – in a riveting performance

July 20, 2014 | Aparna Karthikeyan