Instruments used in Bihu
Dhol is a traditional instrument that was commonly used by the Vaishnav’s in their religious ceremonies. However, the dhol is regarded as the most integral part of the Bihu celebrations. It is a two sided instrument that is played either with hands or bamboo sticks. The dhol traditionally is a wooden barrel with both the open ends covered with animal skin. The pitch of the dhol depends on how tightly the skin is fastened on both the end of the instrument. This instrument is used for maintaining the rhythm of the festival.
The word taal comes from Sanskrit word which means clap and it’s a part of Indian music and culture, used in various traditional customs like Bihu.
Taal is made of metal bronze, brass or copper. The name Manjira also referred to same instrument. Taal is a percussion instrument used in a pair, is made of bell metal. Taal of different sizes and shape are used in almost all forms of folk music of the region. The tribes of Assam also used different varieties of Taal in their indigenous folk music. These varieties of Taal are known as ‘Jotha’ among the Bodos, ‘Sengso’ among the Karbis, ‘Lupi’ among the Missings etc.
Pepa - An instrument made of buffalo horn
Once upon a time, the horn of a dead buffalo was laying on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, it seems that a breeze excited the horn such that it started to spontaneously make a sound and then inspired to build the first Pepa and is great antiquity.
There are two versions of the Pepa, single or double piped (buffalo horn) attached with a small body of one or two lengths of reed or bamboo.
Pepa is very much associated with the Bohag Bihu
Toka instrument is a popular and easily available musical instrument used in Assamese folk Music. Toka is made of Bamboo, and bamboo being the most common produce of the forests of Assam, it is used abundantly by Assamese folk musicians. The toka used by Bodo tribe of Assam is known as ' Thorka'.
Baahi is primarily an instrument of Vaisnavite culture of Assam. It is extensively used in different forms of Assamese folk and is one of the principal instruments of Bihu. The Baahi is also known as Muruli, Benu, Flute, etc in different parts of Assam. Almost all the tribes of Assam uses Baahi in their folk music
Xutuli is the instrument which looks like the half moon. Xutuli are believed to be exists since the time beyond history. These types of instruments try to imitate the sound of animals and birds and produce the sound of a flute. In the Assamese folk culture, people believe that the sound of Xutuli invites rain.
In Bohag Bihu , Xutuli has importance of its own. Initially, the Ggorokhiya lora or cowboy used Xutuli as a toy, because of ease of construction. Xutuli is played by both boy and girls in Bihu, but most importantly Xutuli is an indispensable part of Jeng Bihu and Bihuwati dances, and predominantly played by girls.
It is an instrument which held in the mouth to play. It’s a contribution of the Mongolian culture and made of Bamboo, and requires high level of workmanship. Gogona is also known as Lihiri Gogona, Ramdhon Gogona, xaliki Gogona, etc.
Apart from being extensively used in Bihu of Assam, almost all Mogoloid and Kirat tribes of Assam use Gogona in the folk music. Now a days it is compulsory for a Bihuwati or a female Bihu performers to play Gogona in stage competitions.