Assam, amidst the stereotypical images of one-horned rhinos of Kaziranga, the greenery of extensive tea-gardens, Xatras of river-island Majuli and the Bihu dancers in red, is the meeting ground of various racial stocks such as Mongoloid, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Iranian and Aryan. Hence, the Assamese culture is a rich and exotic tapestry of all these races evolved through a long assimilative process. It is evident that the folk culture of Assam is a conglomeration of songs, dances and musical instruments influenced over the centuries.
Panchajanya Sur Bahini attempts to fully tap the rich heritage in the state and carry forward the fine traditions to strive for the prosperity of the folk culture.
What is Panchajanya Sur Bahini?
It is a group of 8 musicians and 10 dancers presenting 30 kinds of Assamese folk music with 115 musical instruments.
‘Panchajanya’ meaning the ‘conch shell of Lord Vishnu’ starts their performance with the blissful sound of drums, cymbals and conch shells and ends with ‘O Mur Apunar Desh’ – the state song of Assam. The various kinds of music in order of their presentation are:
Moomariya, Ojapali, Xatriya, Borgeet, Jikir, Dihanaam, Kushan Gaan, Bhortaal, Goalpariya, Bordhul, Ujadhul, Biyanaam, Jhumur, Bodo, Zemei-Naga, Karbi, Nepali, Rabha, Hajong, Deuri, Mising, Tiwa and Bihu.
The various musical instruments are:
Doba, Xankh, Baah, Khul, Mridanga, Negera, Kirtan Khul, Dogor, Dotara, Tukari, Been, Ektara, Khomok, Anandalohori, Ghonta, Khonjuri, Roxmaduli, RaamTaal, Beena, Dhapla, Rogoidang, Nisaan, KorTaal, Shehnai, Dhumsaa, Dhaak, Madol, Pepa, PatiDhol, Ujadhul, etc.
Dance in order of their performance
Traditionally the costumes are of white or raw silk colour with use of red threads having intricate local motifs.
Shades of green and yellow are dominant colours of the patani worn above the ankle.
Male dancers each equipped with Bhortaal( a kind of cymbal) and Khul( a kind of drum)
Similar to that of Kushan Nritya
Clad in red-bordered white saree, the dancers highlight precision of footwork while clasping tightly each other’s waist.
Also called “butterfly dance” because it resembles the movement of birds and butterflies as they dance with their scarves around their necks.
Can be identified with white clothing and skirts bordering with red and black colour.
Pekok worn around the upper body with the upper ends of the garment separating on the right side and tied on the right shoulder to above knee length.
The bright coloured head-scarves worn by women are distinct.
A distinguished feature – a delicate belt made of several, small conch shells or pearl balls around their abdomen that is known as labok
Pathin, a wrap-around skirt that covered the upper and lower part of the body from the bust till the calf of the leg. It is a horizontally striped, colourful, rectangular piece of cloth with alternate layers of different colours between red stripes and thick horizontal borders.
A distinguished feature – use of Gamucha to cover their head, which is known as Gathiki
Usually ladies of this community like to wear black and green coloued clothes.
Gomona – a type of aero phone is a prominent musical instrument of this tribe
Needless to say!!!