Nak Cheng Rennie

Rava or Rabhas are a Bodo speaking matriarchal tribal community of North Bengal. Their dialect is close to that of the Garos. Since they live in close proximity to the Hindus, the Rabhas have assimilated a number of traits of their neighbors into their cultural matrix. The Rabhas are a small community and their population is less than 5000. The dance named N ak Cheng Rennie, literally meaning the dance of catching prawns, has no religious association and can be performed at any time. The dance is a land of stylized and suggestive depiction of catching prawns from hilly brooks. The dancers use Jokkoi and Khalai which are actually used in prawn catching. The dancers are all girls, but the musical accompanists are all men. While the melodic accompaniment is provided by the female vocalist and Barangshi, a bamboo flute, the percussion is by Hem, a drum with two faces: Dandi, a bamboo made idiophone; Barding, another interesting idiophone; and a rare tribal instrument made of a long piece of bamboo with a buffalo horn at the lower end.