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In western Nepal, where the pañcai bājā is fundamentally a drumming tradition, the use of 36 damāhā is common. A long strap hanging from the player’s neck positions the drum in front of the player who strikes it with angled or straight sticks depending on local tradition. Played with one, or in ritual contexts, with two sticks, the damāhā serves as a bass drum for the ensemble. The thick head must remain wet, both inside and out for the proper sound. Because the maker’s feet touch the drum during its manufacture (an insult to the deity for whom it is played) an apology pūjā of invocations and offerings must be performed to appease the deity. Collected in Salyān, Rāptī district, Nepal.

Damaha, Copper, hide, Nepalese

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