Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Portrait of a musician from the Mir tribe, Gujarat

On our Ahmedabad Crafts Tour, we photographed this performer from the nomadic Mir tribe. Look at the wonderful colours on the stringed instrument in this portrait! I have never seen a musical instrument decorated like this. Have you?
Here is a closer look. Look at how the singer has personalised the instrument. The sense of colour and drama is incredible. The text on the left says Jai Khodiyar Maa, invoking the folk goddess Khodiyar, who is popular in Gujarat. There are interesting designs stencilled on the instrument; and even little Chinese or Japanese stickers have been used. I learnt that the word he uses for the instrument is "santaar". I had not heard this word before. Taar means string. I assume santaar means 4-string. Probably this is a variant of the taanpura?
The overall effect is amazing. See the photo below, with his family also nearby. I find so much beauty in this colourful chaos.