Before I get into some detail on my trip to Manikgonj, I thought I would first tell you about a great concert a few of us went to last night. Among other performers, there was a group of young Bangladeshi men who sang Bangali songs and played traditional instruments. What a delight! Some of the instruments looked familiar, like the flute. And others looks somewhat familiar like a single-headed drum which was played by using the palm of the hand and fingertips simultaneously. The last instrument was totally new to me and I just loved it’s sound. The ektara which apparently is a cousin to the Nepalese sarangi that I loved so much. The ektara is made out of a dried gourd with one string running from top right through to the middle of the gourd base. Two flexible bamboo wands are attached to the side of the gourd and are joined together at the top with a doul. The doul is used as tension for the string. There are no frets or bow for that matter, a finger plucks the string. The flexible bamboo wands are pushed together at various strengths, to produce different sounds as the string is plucked. Absolutely haunting but spectacular sound. I just loved it! This clip I found on YouTube, it gives you a pretty good demo of how the instrument works. Continue searching for songs if you like the sound!
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