The Tassas are back in their full glory!

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The pulsating beats have been synonymous with weddings and Phagwah celebrations. Sadly, for years, there was silence across the land as interest waned but now tassa drumming is back in all its glory. The word “tassa” comes from the Persian “tash” and Hindi “tasha”, which both mean “kettle drum”. Traditionally, the tassa was made by tightly covering a clay shell with goat skin; early tassa were covered in monkey skin as well. When ready to play, the skin is heated by aid of a fire to tighten the head, making the pitch higher. In this way, the pitch can stay high for 20–30 minutes. Now tassa drums are even made by cutting an empty coolant tank in half and attaching a synthetic drum skin to the top of it with nuts and bolts, welding it shut. For the Hindu’s, tassa drumming was a traditional entry for especially Phagwah and weddings. For the latter, the bridegroom’s entrance to the bride’s home is heralded by the roll of the catchy sounds. On the “dig dutty” night, two days before the traditional Sunday wedding, tassas were a must. It is not unusual to see the ladies and a few brave men swaying their hips in time with the beats. Businessman Loaknauth Persaud of King’s Jewelry had fallen in love with the drums, eventually introducing his own group. So too had entertainers like Rajesh Dubraj. The tassas are now back with even the Indian Arrival Committee announcing a few years ago that it was looking to revive the tradition. So next time, you are looking for a good place to hear the drums, the best bet will be a wedding house.

Article Categories:
Culture · Tourism and Culture

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