Poumai Naga Music & Dance


There are different types of folksongs in Poumai Naga villages. Most of the folksongs are poetic, patriotic and romantic. There are different types of folksongs like Patriotic folksongs, Poetic folksongs, Romantic or love folksongs, Rice men folksongs and Feast of Merit folksongs. They have not knowledge of tone-sofa in antique but they had composed many kinds of folksongs. Most of the folksongs are composed playing Lana and Chii. The main musical instruments are:

i)                    Lana (a long string with a stick attached to half gourd shell) or (single stringed Bango)

ii)                   Chii (mouth organ) made of bamboo

iii)                 Nghakai (a mouth organ made of buffalo horn or kind of bugle)

iv)                 Shah and Be (mouth organ made of hollow small plant)

v)                  Mouth organ made of bamboo with four holes

The males used the Lana, Nghakai, Shah, Be and mouth organ made of bamboo in singing traditional folksongs while the females used only Chii. In the past, the boys frequently visited the Loukizii (ladies dormitory) and sung many romantic folksongs. Folksongs are generally sung in ceremonial festivals, Kheloukizii (dormitory), and Chukho (mounded stones platforms). The popularity of folksongs and musical instruments are vanishing in Christian dominated society in Poumai villages; but all kinds of musical instruments are still found in every village. In all the churches, the western music and songs are sing. The traditional folksong and musical instruments are gradually dying but the modern song or country song in Poumai dialect is becoming very popular in all the villages. There are many Audio Cassettes and Video films, which continue produced in Poumai dialect for commercial purpose since late 1980s. The field work in 15 villages show that only about 7.8% of the total males out of 600 males in the age group of 15-30 years of age know the folksong, while 7.3% of the total females know folksong. The reasons for less percentage of youngsters who know folksong may be due to more popularity in modern Poumai song and giving less important to traditional folksong.

  ii). Dance

Traditional dances are another important part of cultural life for the Poumai Nagas. They have their own rich cultural dances. The Poumai Naga dance is very colorful with traditional attires. There are different types of dances such as, War cry dance, Whooping dance and Feast of Merit dances etc. The dance troupes wear colorful traditional attires. The men wear Tousiirounii (Kilt), Lai (headgear), Pheida (ankle ring), Vaohu shu (Hornbill feathers), Phanubo (Strand small cotton), Hra etc. Women wear earlobe colorful strand cotton, Sousii (specially design iron walking stick), Shapu (small shawl for draping on the shoulders), Shakheavea (wear as skirt), Pheida (ankle ring) etc. As the Poumai Naga dances are exposed to other tribes and recognized by other people, from time to time they presented their rich cultural dances in Manipur State and the dance troupes had even presented in Delhi. Whenever there is any V.I.P visiting in Poumai village, cultural dances are presented to the V.I.P guests showing their token of love and gratitude. After 1990, there were some inter-village cultural dance competitions to promote and keep alive the rich cultural dances. With the advent of Christianity in Poumai villages, for some periods, the traditional music and dances are snubbed. The field work studies on dance shows that the percentage youngster who knows traditional dance is relatively more than the percentage of youngsters who know folksong. The field work survey shows that about 56.5% of males and 70.2% of females know the traditional dance. The reason may be that after 1990, there is some sign of revival in traditional music and dances. Today, traditional music and dances are valued as important cultural assets in Poumai Naga villages.

Copy right@ Dr. R.B. Thohe Pou


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