Myagdi – Breaking the tradition of only males playing the naumati baja (an ensemble of nine traditional musical instruments), women from Myagdi and currently residing in Pokhara, Kaski have started a new culture of women's participation in the tradition.
Naumati music is played on any special occasion such as wedding ceremony, chaurasi puja (rituals that are performed when an individual completes 80 years of age), bratabanda (the Hindu coming of age ceremony of wearing the sacred thread), and so on.
The Myagdi women living in Pokhara who were worried to see the disappearing culture of playing of Naumati music after the new generation gradually started losing interest in it have decided to play these conventional sorts of musical instruments as they realized the need of their participation in its protection, promotion and commercialisation.
Women from Annapurna and Raghuganga Rural Municipalities in Myagdi are now associated with a group named 'Phewa Environment and Folk Culture Naumati Baja Samuha', Pokhara to systematically undertake endeavors for the protection of conventional music.
The group that was formed in 2061 BS would encourage women of new generation to seek career in this field, as stated by group chair Dambar Bahadur Purja.
According to group member Preeti Pun, playing the instruments in joint participation of females and males is the specialty of the group. Women members make up some 50 percent of the 30-member group.
The group is reportedly gaining popularity in the town. The female faces in the group have established a fund for social changes by saving a part of their income, said group member Tikmati Pun.
Naumati musical instruments are Damaha or Nagara (kettle drum-2), Dholaki (two sided drum, similar to Madal), Tyamko (small kettle drum), Sahanai (a short pipe instrument-2), Jhurma or Jhyali (cymbals), Karnal or Narsingha (straight brass trumpet-2). ---