Traditional indigenous musical instrument Pena being revived in Manipur
In Manipur, the Pena goes along way back, but it is not so popular now. In order to revive the musical instrument, workshops are being held regularly to make the youth familiar with it.
The Pena or Tingteila is a bowed lute. It is the oldest instrument known to the Meiteis. It is used in folk music as well as an accompaniment to Manipuri dances.
At one time, this instrument was played in royal courts and was considered part of the "high culture" of the region. It is still occasionally used for funerals and weddings.
Pena is used to invoke the deities before the Lai-haraoba starts. However, the popularity of Pena has gone down.
The Imphal based Center for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Art, popularly known as Laihui, is trying to popularize the musical instrument.
" Pena is one of the most important musical instruments in Manipur. It is a part our life and we have been using it on every important occasion, so we want to preserve it," said Mangangsana Meetei, Pena Guru.
" I came to learn here Pena for two reasons. I like playing the Pena, I love listening to it, and it is one of our age-old instruments, so it is very important to know about this instrument," said Premananda Singh, a student.
Through workshops and live sessions, youngsters are being given opportunities to understand the instrument so that they can blend the unique tunes of Pena with modern tunes and make it contemporary.
The instrument consists of two basic parts. There is the body and the bow. The body of the instrument is known as "penamasa" and the bow known as "pena cheijing".
The main body of the instrument is made by taking a length of bamboo and passing it through a half coconut shell.
" I want every child in the family and student to Penna. Nowadays many students are interested in learning Pena, so there is demand and it keeps me interested in making Pena," said Nameirakpam Jilatombi, a Pena maker.
The indigenous arts are an important part of one's cultural legacy and efforts need to be made to preserve and promote them.
(Posted on 19-05-2014)