Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

16 February 2010

Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!

The concept of drums is as old as mankind. A drum also called a membranophone, is an instrument that creates sound when a person strikes a stretched membrane with their hands or some type of object, usually a rounded stick.
Drums consist of a hollowed-out piece (the body), a membrane stretched over the end of the drum, and occasionally (but not necessarily) tuning keys or pegs which tighten or loosen the membrane to achieve different tones. It is this membrane and its vibration which reates the sound when struck.
Drums first appeared as far back as 6000 BC. Mesopotamian excavations unearthed small cylindrical drums dated 3000 BC. Several wall markings found in caves in Peru show drums used in various aspects of societal life. The American Indians used gourd and wooden constructed drums for their rituals and ceremonies. Drums have always been used for more than merely creating music.
In India, percussion instruments too have a long history. We have both the two-faced drums such as the dhol, the dholak, the pakhawaj or the mirdangam as well as the single-faced ones like the tabla or the drums in the pictures which accompany this post.
I found these drums in temples in different places - in Mahu Nag, in Janog, in Cheekad, in Mamleshwar. The texture of the skin contrasted enchantingly with the colours of the temples walls in the background: ochre, cinnamon and sienna standing in stark contrast to the turquoise that is so favoured for temple colouring all over Himachal!

And as I end this post, I'm reminded of that great poet Jon Bon Jovi's lines!!

Bang a drum for the sinners
Bang a drum for the sins
Bang a drum for the losers
Bang a drum for those who win
Bang a dum bang it loudly
Or as soft as you need
Bang a drum for yourself
And a drum for me.


Dick Richards said...

Might I recommend to percussion enthusiasts, Mickey Hart's CD, "Planet Drum." Yes, THAT Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead). He is a world class percussion scholar.

Priya said...

What a beautiful blue! Speaking of Peru, I noticed you've got Machhu Pichhu on your agenda...I've had the privilege to go there years ago and it was beautiful. Folks there are very similar to us - family values et al and they very often talk to Indians in Spanish (we look like each other I guess!). Best of all, when told I'm Indian, they were delighted and mentioned the 2 Indian things they knew best..."Gandhi" and "Kamasutra"!! :) There's a blog called "An American in Lima" - quite nice. Sorry....strayed off topic here!

NITYIN said...

The drum is sacred. In fact every God has his own baja as we call it in the hills. Here is a pic of the entire crew with their instruments http://www.twitpic.com/14rg0x

In every sacred rituals be it a pooja or a marriage, the cermony starts once the baja arrives. They are offered prayers in the begining and later once they leave.

Thanks for bring out such a beautiful post!

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