Drum Beaters In Lenape Culture

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Abstract Long ago, the drum beaters community had been earning their livelihood by serving and performing their skills in various social functions like marriage, child birth, idol immersion procession, marriage procession, welcome ceremony, political rallies, and other administrative purposes. Application of modern technology in music has brought a sea change in the lifestyle of the drum beaters and thus putting their livelihood at stake. Even though there is an existence of jajamani system in our economy, the early works in terms of reports, articles, and books decline its existence. From the studies done earlier, it is noticed that a majority of the literatures on drum beatings are based on locations and techniques of drum beating. Hardly…show more content…
The author elaborately discusses the procedure of payment to the drum beaters. Basically, they are the service provider community in Lenape Culture whose job is to beat drums during the worship of their Great Spirit. On the completion of the ceremony, before taking leave, the caretakers, the drum beaters, and the speakers—everyone who has been a part of the ceremony, is served with wampum, which is later on redeemed with money at the rate of a cent per bead and is saved to use again the next time. The studies of Gabb (1875), Simms (1906), Marsh (2011), Montagu (2008) details about the techniques and the places of drum beating. Gabb (1875) describes his self-experience of the Indian Tribes and Languages of Coasta Rica. Dance and drum-beating, according to him, are quite common during the social feasts. Holding under the left arm, the drum is beaten with the fingertips of the right hand. Ordered in a line, the drummers sing a monotonous chorus on the tune of the drums. Simms (1906) while describing the metawin society of the bungees or swampy Indians of Lake Winnipeg, mentions about the location of the drummers. In addition, the author talks about the speeches and prayers the people chant during the worship of the great spirit. The role of the drummers there is very important. Stationed at one end of the place, they constantly keep the drums beating. The study of Marsh (2011) depends upon a wide…show more content…
Barely is there any mention about the socio-economic conditions of the drum beaters. However, interesting enough, Mcgilvray (1883) in his study on the “Paraiyar Drummers of Sri Lanka: Consensus and Constraint in an untouchable Caste” casts light over the socio-economic conditions of the drum beaters. His study underscores major constraints imposed on the lower-caste culture, and social organization by applying demographic conditions using contrasting data on untouchable Tamil Paraiyar Drummers dwelling in two different regions in eastern Sri Lanka. The system of temple rituals represents a symbolic microcosm of the caste hierarchy and distribution of labour in local agrarian set up. As per the rituals, in every occasion, the very last pot of gruel is awarded to the leaders of the local Paraiyar Drummers. The hamlet of the drum-beaters seemingly appears to be exactly the opposite of the village of the upper caste people: a single lane with no pavements shaded by dense coconut trees on both sides with palm-thatched mud houses facing the road on either sides. Apparently, even though the entire sub-district is poverty-stricken, it is the absence of attractive brick and tile-roofed houses in a dalit hamlet which makes it distinct from the nearby upper caste

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