Monday, 31 July 2017

Bari Mani

Chimes played during nagarasankirtanam

On a Purattasi Saturday afternoon, as we were rendering the kriti ‘O, Rangasayee’ the immortal composition of Saint Tyagaraja on Lord Ranganatha, we were immersed in the beauty of the kriti and its beautiful phrase in the charanam – ‘Bhooloka Vaikuntam.’ Our thoughts raced back to the Ranganathar temple at Srirangam, which inspired Tyagaraja to compose such a masterpiece in raga Khambodi.
The shrine, which is regarded the foremost in the eight self-manifested shrines of Lord Vishnu, houses many rare musical instruments that are used while performing the temple rituals.
One such is the Bari Mani bell, which belongs to the category of idiophones or metallic variety that comes under the group of hand percussion instruments.
It is said that Bari Mani is a favourite of Lord Siva and Goddess Kali and that the people belonging to the Nazhimanikarar community used to sing songs on the Lord during their nagarasankirtanam and the performers who wield the bells/mani will receive paddy inside these bells, the quantity of which equals the quantity of the Nazhi and hence these performers are called Nazhimanikarar. The instrument with such legendary aspect is now used only at the Srirangam temple. After the Artha jama puja, the Barimani, Bari Maddhalam and talam performers perform and go around the Chithirai veedhi adjoining the temple to announce the devotees that the day’s rituals have ended. This is known as Bari valam. Bari Mani, which is carried on the shoulder like the ‘kavadi,’ is an open-mouthed bell made up of brass attached to a long block of teak wood on either side. It is fastened to the wooden log in such a way that when the performers walk with them on their shoulders it automatically reverberates and produces a pleasant tone and in order to get the nadam its mouth is slightly narrowed down. This practice has been in vogue for many years though in between it became a rare phenomenon due to the increase in the number of devotees and space constraint where the performers found it difficult to walk all the way. But now this practice has been revived, thanks to the efforts of the TVS Group.
(The writers are classical violinists and researchers.)

No comments:

Post a Comment


RESONANCE  MUSIC Esraj known as the ‘voice of the sikhs’ DR M Lalitha and M Nandini MARCH 01, 2018 The Esraj, a bowed s...