High on dandiya
Last weekend, Bangaloreans caught the spirit of the Gujaratis, whirling and spinning to dandiya. Both the young and the old let their hair down.
NAVARATHRI. TIME to mull over the triumph of good over evil. And, for the young, to celebrate and dance all night.
The Musical Disco Dandiya Nite, a live music and dance evening at the St. Joseph's High School Cricket Ground last weekend, had a `heady' start with practically everyone in high spirits. In fact, one could smell the highs in the air that was thick with laughter and acrid smoke.
The less spirited ones were sipping hot cups of tea and coffee, and relishing bhel poori, pav baji, kachoris, and popcorn.
Not even the heavy downpour of the early evening could dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds that came pouring in.
Young people, and those young at heart came trooping in, dressed in traditional, multihued chania cholis and lehenga jhabbas, accessorised with tons of jewellery to a very satisfying effect. Those who found the backless cholis too cold (or too hot?!) covered themselves in windcheaters, shawls, and raincoats.
People from all walks of life were there. The young and the old. The pub-hoppers and hip-swingers. All of them got together to make the best of the Dandiya night.
The night seemed to be more popular among the young, most of whom were dressed for the occasion. They were there to have a good time, a night out with friends and family.
The musical extravaganza began with the local rock group, Stephen's Band, playing fusion music where a classical violinist jammed with the rock and funky music.
Popular Bollywood chartbusters accompanied the band to keep up the Dandiya beat and rhythm.
"Different feelings are expressed through words and music. The effects and impressions continue to echo for a considerable time, even after the raasda is over. Different kind of traditional folk instruments are used in providing music for raasda. Sadly, the modern touch has taken away the delicacy of the dance form," said Girish, the violinist.
Guest Artists included DJs Akbar Sami and Clement. "Gujarat is a state that is opulent in dances as in music or art. Dandiya is more popular in the North than with the people in the South. When the folk dances and the discotheque dances get amalgamated into one rhythm the rhythm of fun and frolic dandiya is complete," says Akbar Sami.
"Dandiya comprises different rhythms or beats. As DJs we keep to that rhythm and build from there to a feverish pitch. Special drums are used for Dandiya and Garba music," said DJ Clement.
Akbar chips in: "Dandiya starts at a slow tempo initially, building up speed to 140 rhythm beats. Songs are usually from Hindi films and special Navarathri tracks, apart from religious chants."
Towards midnight, dancers dressed in typical folk costume, a small coat called kedia, with tight sleeves and pleated frills at the waist with embroidered borders, tight trousers, colourfully embroidered cap or coloured turban and colourful cummerbunds, whirling to the intoxicating rhythm of the dance, enthralled the audience.
Gujarati work day and night throughout the year, but for nine days they gives up all the work and picks up their dandiyas, the short, colourful sticks used rhythmically in song and dance. Men, women and children eagerly look forward to the Navarathri celebrations.
Gujaratis are passionate dancers and have a natural sense of rhythm that makes complicated dance steps easier for them.
Folk dances, tribal dances, and disco dances get amalgamated into one rhythm the rhythm of fun and frolic.
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