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Music

 
Both hill and valley people of Manipur are very fond of songs and  music.

Khullong ishei:  

It is a folk song commonly sung by the Meities in villages when they go to work in the fields or go for fishing. There is no set system of words and sentences. The theme is love. The singer adjusts his words  and stanzas of verses of his own to the tune.

Lai Haraoba ishei: 

These songs are full of erotic  mysticism but the real meaning is veiled by the use of innocent sounding words. The rhythm of the tune is its quality. It is sung on the ceremonial occasion at Lai-Haraoba.

Pena ishei: 

This song is accompanied with the music produced through Pena. A Pena is a musical instrument, in which a slender bamboo rod is attached to the round dry shell of gourd of coconut. The shell is cut out to make a circular opening which is covered with a thin, hide covering, to make a drum. A string of the horse tail is fastened from the end of the bamboo rod over the drum. The adjusting pieces are attached to make the string loose or tight on the bamboo rod. Another string is fastened to the curved iron rod. To produce music, the bamboo rod is held in the left hand and the drum shell is pressed against the chest. The curved iron rod is held in the right hand. The string on the bamboo is rubbed with that on the curved iron rod. The theme of the song is the love story of Khamba-Thoibi.

Thoubal Chongba is a tuneful song sung during the Thoubal chongba dance. The theme of the song is religious. 

Nat is a classical music which is used during the ceremonies such as marriage, Upanayanams etc. In Nat, a particular Raga at a particular occasions is sung. Gaur Padas are songs in praise of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Dhob is sung with a large cymbal known as Jhal. The song is accompanied with the Manipuri style  of beating of the drum.  Manohar Sai are the songs named after Manohar Sai who came to Manipur in nineteenth century. The songs are accompanied with small cymbals called Ramkartal and drum called Khol. The songs are devotional. Napi Pala is a song sung by women. It is a devotional song. The small cymbal called Mandira is used during this song. Khubaishei is a clapping music. No cymbals are used and the songs are sung accompanied with the clapping of hands. If the Khubaishei is sung by women only, then it is called Nupi khubaishei. It is sung in a standing position. Raslila songs are a class by themselves due to their special thematic approach. The songs carry deep religious essence. The tribal songs and music have variety and quality.


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