In Manipur, men still, has an abiding relationship with the spiritual forces of the indigenous religion. The Meiteis of the valley, the predominant ethnic group in the plains still retain deep feature of mans inner quest for balance and harmony with the cosmic and ancestral forces that govern all life.
   The equilibrium between heaven and earth is sought to be maintained by the actions of men through their culture. Amongst the mediums that facilitates this relationship between the world of Gods and the world of men, the musician singer with his ole instrument-the Pena plays a vital role.
    The Lai Haraoba festival, a seasonal fertility rite of the Meiteis of the valley is an embodiment of the total culture of the people, where ritual, dance, music, song  and dramatic events are integrated to educate and enlighten the community through celebrations whre the ancestral spirits and the worshippers inter-act in a refined and sensuous manner.
    The instrument of a Pena-(spike fiddle of unique kind) helps to energize this relationship. And this instrument occupies an irreplaceable place in the Meitei civilization and society.
    The fundamental belief of the traditional autochthons of the function of this instrument is that act of primal creation through the union of the great Mother and the great Father is productive of the eternal breaths of life, and that the sound of creation “RE-RE-RE-RU” which is evanescent from the Pena is what gives permanence, meaning and continuity to all life. The act of union is symbolized by the friction between the two parts of the instrument, namely the Khongding (body) representing the female energy, and the Cheijing (bow) representing the male.
    The Cheijing in fact its bow structure resembles the Anji (the primal energy), which is the form of the ancestral serpent dragon, the hook-its tongue, and the feathered part immediately above, its head.
    The philosophical and metaphysical interpretations alluded to the instrument makes it one of the true representations of Meiteis ethnic civilization. Its presence essentially indicates the sophistication and refinement of Manipuri civilization.
    At the Meitei Lai Haraoba festivals, Pena is an indispensable part and no ritual is complete without Pena. The birth and death rites were performed with a specific Lairon (version of God) sung by Pena players and there are some 40 different tunes of Pena in the earlier times but today with the advent of modern equipments and modern technology of communications only a few tunes like the Yakairon (awakening) Nongarol (Mortuary songs) etc. are sung.
    Under the above conditions, the RHYTHMS OF MANIPUR propose to hold a ten day Pena workshop and festival at Imphal sometime in the month of September 2013.

 


 

Doordarshan Annual Award

Fusion ensemble Journey based on the tunes & rhythms of four north eastern states produced by Doordarshan Kendra, Imphal was judged as the Best Entry in the music category in the 10th National Doordarshan Annual Award 2009-2010.

The orchestral music Heirangkhoinida purely based on Folk and tradition music of Manipur presented by the only orchestral group in the state, the Rhythms of Manipur on 14th September 1995 was highly impressive and captivated the audience about 35 minutes.

N.C.Singh, Director, Doordarshan Kendra Imphal

It was a tuneful Tuesday as the pitter-patter of rain mingled with the band from Northeast. A three-day music event kick started at Indira Gandhi Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) on Tuesday. Fusion one feature ‘Rhythms of Manipur’, a band from Manipur, highlighting the richness and diversity on traditional music of northeast and their openness to incorporated elements from other cultures….

Hindustan Times

…the latest opera incorporating with the traditional folk elements was highly impressive and captivated the packed audience. The acting and other performance by the musicians of Rhythms of Manipur is indeed praiseworthy. Such successful play was not seen earlier even from the established theatre groups of the country. It is a bold attempt by Rhythms of Manipur...”.

S.Vedeshwor Sharma, Secretary, Manipur State kala Academy