As it so happened, the months I spent in India spanned the peak festival season. I love festivals, so this was very convenient. Of all the cultural events I attended, Dandiya was my favorite. The music seemed to be unique to this festival. I never heard music elsewhere in India with so much percussion, and, to be honest, I rarely ever heard live music of any nature, but this night made up for that. I like to describe the band as having the “correct number of drummers,” because everyone on stage was a percussionist! (keep in mind that piano is a percussion instrument; therefore a synthesizer is too!)
Dandiya has a fascinating history (Wikipedia) and the modern celebration features dance performances that honor the goddess Durga by depicting a battle between the goddess and the demon-king Mahishasura. The dance is sometimes referred to as “The Sword Dance” because participants carry sticks that they twirl and strike against the sticks of other dancers while twirling. I feel that this dance has some similarities to the Brazilian martial art, Capoeira.
Proper attire at this festival is a must. I was instructed that I must buy traditional clothing before I attended the event. I went to a fine tailor and asked him to give me something that says, “the party starts now,” when I walk in the door. His success in fulfilling this request was certified when I won an award for Best Dressed Man at the festival. What an honor!
I went to the festival in Hyderabad with some colleagues of mine. We were invited by our new friends at Haworth, the office furniture vendor who we chose to supply all the furnishings to the new Mutual Mobile office. We danced together all night, made new friends and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.
Here are some photos from the evening, followed by a video I found from the same event that will give you an idea of the dancing and the music.
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