The Ghumra is another interesting drum dance prevalent in Orissa in the districts of Sambalpur, Balangir and Kalahandi. The dance is named after the pitcher-like drum. Its body is made from terracotta. The neck of the drum is like a hollow cylinder. On its mouth is tautly tied the skin of Godbi, a lizard-like reptile. The drum is slung from the neck of the dancer and tied at the back so that its face is near the chest. The dancers play on the face with both their hands. The dance is performed only by men. The dancers wear colored dhoti tightly and colored jackets. They wear turbans clipped with peacock feathers. A belt with jinglebells called ghaagudi is fastened to each dancer’s waist and ghungroo on both the ankles. One dancer, without the Ghumra drum holds two bunches of long peacock feathers in both of his hands. He dances with the group making funny movements and sounds that add a humorous element to the performance. In the beginning, the dancers stand in two rows and play on their Ghumra drums. Then they dance playing on their drums. After that, they stand in rows and the accompanying vocalist sings a couplet from the repertory of songs specified for the dance. At times, he may sing couplets composed or improvised by him. While the vocalist is singing, the dancers remain standing and play softly on their drums. As soon as the couplet is complete, the dancers play on their drums loudly and dance vigorously. Although the dance is performed on some festive occasions, customarily it is danced on the day of Gamha Poornima that falls on the full moon day of the lunar month of Shravan (July/August).
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