Published On: October 9, 2017 09:36 AM NPT By: Sangam Gharti Magar

Magar youths Conserving panche baja

Magar youths Conserving panche baja

While the exodus of Nepali youths to foreign countries in search of employment and better opportunities continues unabashedly, some youngsters have decided to stay within the borders and do something for the nation. 

About a dozen youths of Bhakunde in Baglung district are working to the conserve the traditional folk instrument Panche Baja (meaning five musical instruments). President of Jana Jaati Panche Baja Group, Tul Bahadur Thapa, said some 12 youths belonging to the Magar community have been working to conserve and promote the Naumati Panche Baja. He added that earlier the instrument was played during puja, wedding and threading ceremonies but the tradition is gradually falling behind the shadows due to the emergence of modern musical bands. 

The youths first played Panche Baja at the Bhakunde Festival in 2068 BS. Thapa said, “Whenever there was a festival in the village, we didn’t have anyone to play the instrument. Realizing this void, the Magar youths decided to join hands in a bid to conserve the instrument. They first started playing by renting the musical instruments. Later, they started collecting the instruments and formed their own commercial group.” 

Jhurma, tyamko or dholaki is a two headed the drum that gets hit on both sides, damaha - the large kettle drum, narsiha – a long curved hornlike instrument, Sanai – a pipe instrument, and karnal- a wide-mouthed instrument comprises a Panche Baja. The karnal is like the combination of a trumpet and a trombone. 

Some join the group for income, but most of them come out of passion for culture. They get to learn a lot. The group is now asked to play Panche Baja at different places and occasions.  According to Chairperson of the group, Shyam Thapa, they also receive offers to play in different VDCs and districts. 

The group has so far played Panche Baja in Kathmandu, Butwal and Pokhara. 

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