(Dances performed by the Siddi tribe, ಸಿದ್ದಿ ಕುಣಿತ)
Siddis constitute a tribal
community, which migrated to some regions of
DamAmi kuNita and pugaDi kuNita are the dance forms specific to Siddis. But they also entertain themselves by resorting to local dance forms such as alAvi dance (among Muslim Siddis) and gumTe pAngu. (hAlakki community) This note gives a brief account of the two forms that are specific to them.
Damami kunita (DamAmi kuNita) (ಡಮಾಮಿ ಕುಣಿತ): This
dance is usually performed during the Navratri. More importantly it is
performed also during the festivals celebrated to honour their ancestors and
elders. Damami the musical instrument that provides the background score to the
dance in not used by any other Indian community, according to some scholars.
However, there is a mention of this percussion instrument in the work 'Natyachudamani' by Somanarya. Somanarya is believed to have lived during the reign of King Achyutaraya
of the Vijayanagara empire in 1540 A.D. Helmut K. Anheier who has done extensive research about the Siddis
Women or men in women’s disguise perform the dance when a man plays on Damami. The dancing women carry either peacock feathers or a coconut (called mucAke) in their language. This practice of holding a coconut during a dance also harks back to ancient times. Occasionally these dancers are visited by divine powers and they are then invested with devine powers to resolve the problems faced by the community members. Siddis belonging to Islam perform alAvi dance also. Siddis of Gujarat perform another famous dance known as Dhamaal dance.
Pugadi Dance (pugaDi kuNita) (ಪುಗಡಿ ಕುಣಿತ): This is a dance form borrowed by the Siddis from the fishing communities and gauLiga (Cowherd) communities of Norh Canara. This dance is performed by even number of women who hold an earthen vessel (koDa) and blow into it while dancing. The dance is performed with a background score provided by another similar vessel (koDa) and gumaTe usually played hAlakki okkaliga community. This is mainly performed during the Ganesha festival as also on other re creative occasions.
Further Readings and Links:
1. ‘From Africa...To Indian Subcontinent: Sidi Music in the Indian Ocean Diaspora.’ By Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy, in close collaboration with Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy and the Sidi community. DVD-R., 2003. ISBN 1880519291.
2. The Siddhi Communitys". K.L.Kamat. Kamat's Potpourri. http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/people/afro-indians/siddis.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
3. The African Connection K.L.Kamat. Kamat's Potpourri. (Photographs)
4. ‘Conflicts and tensions’ by Helmt K. Anheier and Yudhishtir Raj Isar, 2007, SAGE publishers.