Badyokars of Majuli struggle to stay in tune

Percussion instruments play a big role in Assamese festivals celebrated through the year. The skilled craftsmen who make and repair these critical dhols, khols and more, say the new anti-slaughter law has led to a rise in prices, and harassment

March 26, 2024 | Prakash Bhuyan

Narayan Desai’s jugaad with the shehnai

In Karnataka’s Manakapur village, as demand for traditional, handmade shehnais declines rapidly, a 65-year-old craftsman resorts to a series of innovations to keep his craft alive

June 12, 2023 | Sanket Jain
Hanging by strings on Mumbai locals
and • Mumbai, Maharashtra

Hanging by strings on Mumbai locals

Rajasthani migrant, Kishan Jogi plays the sarangi on Mumbai’s local trains. He does this to honour his father's legacy but says it's difficult to make a living

June 5, 2023 | Aakanksha

Quiet blows the kombu in Madurai

Kombu artistes in Tamil Nadu are struggling without any income from temple festivals and public events during the Covid-19 lockdowns. But their worries are more about the declining art

June 29, 2021 | M. Palani Kumar

‘Dancing like flowers in a garland’
, and • Bastar, Chhattisgarh

‘Dancing like flowers in a garland’

At celebrations and commemorations during the winter months, young men and women from Chhattisgarh's Gond community travel together to perform the Hulki Mandri and Kolang dances, and sing Rela songs

March 30, 2021 | Purusottam Thakur

Dinkar Aiwale's many flutes of labour
, and • Kolhapur, Maharashtra

Dinkar Aiwale's many flutes of labour

Dinkar Aiwale, master craftsman and musician in Maharashtra's Kodoli village, has perfected making flutes for 1.5 lakh hours – but the work and music have faded away with the lockdown and other challanges

March 6, 2021 | Sanket Jain

Fading out: Maniram's flutes, Orchha's forests

Maniram Mandawi, a flute-maker from the Gond Adivasi community in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, recalls a time when forests were rich in animals, trees and bamboo for his signature 'swinging flute'

February 24, 2021 | Priti David
Pushing the tempo at Mumbai's farm sit-in
, and • South Mumbai, Maharashtra

Pushing the tempo at Mumbai's farm sit-in

At Mumbai's Azad Maidan, at a farmers' protest in late January, dhumsi and tarpa players from Adivasi communities in Maharashtra's Dahanu taluka opposed the new farm laws through song and dance

February 24, 2021 | Oorna Raut and Riya Behl

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

Baans geet: in tune with Chhattisgarh cowherds

In central Chhattisgarh's Balod district, Pacharam, Babulal and Sahadev Yadav, from a community of cowherds, still perform the baans baja-geet – a traditional instrument and songs that are no longer popular

January 13, 2021 | Purusottam Thakur

‘We will play and dance our way to Delhi’

Around 1,000 farmers from various districts of Maharashtra, many of them Adivasis, are trying to join the protestors in Delhi – in vans, tempos, jeeps and cars. It is a colourful and determined caravan

December 24, 2020 | Shraddha Agarwal

Birbhum’s fading sounds of jal, jangal, jameen

Musical instruments popular with, and rooted in, Adivasi societies are in decline. And the reasons for this in West Bengal’s Birbhum district go beyond the cultural

November 18, 2020 | Sayani Chakraborty

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

Dealing with dissonance, restoring harmony

Several hereditary harmonium repairmen – now a very rare occupation – from Jabalpur, MP, were trapped in Renapur, Maharashtra, for over two months due to the lockdown. They tell PARI how they coped

June 15, 2020 | Ira Deulgaonkar

Rajma and corn, rubab and khanjari

Listen to Premlal, a farmer-musician from Chamba district, performing at a recent festival

March 12, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

The bards of Nuapada and the goddess of grains

Although their craft tradition is waning and needs state support, the Debgurus in Odisha continue making idols and objects with paddy, and go from village to village reciting the Laxmi Purana

February 17, 2020 | Ipsita Ruchi

The mridangam makers of Mylapore

Jesudas and his son Edwin are skilled craftsmen, known in the Carnatic music universe of Chennai and elsewhere for the mridangams they give life to, though they still face occasional communal biases

May 23, 2019 | Ashna Butani
The bamboo drummers of Kasargod
and • Kasargod, Kerala

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
Sounds, songs, slogans
and • Nashik, Maharashtra

Sounds, songs, slogans

At the farmers' rally on February 20-21 in Nashik, many came with their traditional musical instruments, adding rhythm and lyrics to the protest gathering

March 1, 2019 | Sanket Jain
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
Migrant musicians in the mountains
and • Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

Migrant musicians in the mountains

Agricultural labourers from Rajasthan travel to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh in April-May every year to play the ravanahatha, a popular centuries-old folk instrument, and earn a seasonal income

June 20, 2018 | Namita Waikar

‘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

Basudeb Baul: singing the ballads of Bengal

The Baul culture of music is distinctive, with a syncretic philosophy of life. In the film featured here, Basudeb Das Baul, a practitioner and teacher from Bolpur in Birbhum district, speaks of this way of life and art form

August 1, 2017 | Sinchita Maji
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

When Meenakshi beats a pot 3000 times

Eight kilograms of mud that make a beautiful music in Manamdurai, Tamil Nadu

March 8, 2016 | Aparna Karthikeyan
• 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
Narasingapettai’s nadaswaram makers
• Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu

Narasingapettai’s nadaswaram makers

For generations, the artisans here have handcrafted the complex wind instrument. But with younger family members now switching to more lucrative professions, the craft is dying

April 13, 2015 | Aparna Karthikeyan

Playing the pawari in Dang, Gujarat

Listen to this traditional instrument of the Adivasi communities of Dang

July 21, 2014 | Sakshi