Meghalaya is the home of music and dances. The dances are associated with their festivals or seasons and hence are to be enjoyed through out the year. The tribal dances are social, religious, agricultural, funeral and recreational. The land echoes the sound of perfect tempo, beautiful songs and traditional instruments. The dances of Meghalaya are generally held under the open sky.
Music of Meghalaya
Garos tribe usually sing folk songs relating to birth, festivals, marriage, love and heroic deeds along with the beats of various types of drums and flutes. The Popular Khasis and Jaintias community are generally fond of songs lauding the nature surrounding them, like - lakes, hills, waterfalls, etc. and also expressing love for their land. At the time of singing, different types of musical instruments like drums, duitara and instruments similar to guitar, flutes, pipes and cymbals are also played.
Dances are held at an open ground under the open sky or at public places. The famous traditional dances of Meghalaya are :
Nongkrem dance form
Nongkrem Dance is a religious festival in thanksgiving to God Almighty for good harvest, peace and prosperity of the community. It is held annually during October - November, at Smit, the capital of the Khyrim Syiemship near Shillong.
Shad Suk Mynsiem
This is a colourful thanksgiving festival celebrated during the spring season all over Khasi Hills. Virgins and menfolk dressed in traditional and colourful costumes participate in the dance, which is accompanied by drums and pipes called tangmuri, the queen of musical instruments.
Behdienkhlam dance festival is celebrated annually in the monsoon season in the month of July after the sowing period. It is the most popular trival dance festival of the Jaintias. The festival tour primarily invoke the blessings of the Creator for a good harvest and to drive away disease and plague.
Wangala Festival tourT
A major festival of the Garos, celebrated during Autumn, after the harvesting season. The festival includes propitiation ceremonies to the deity Patigipa Rarongipa, held in every village. The four days and nights tour will accompanied by dancing and merriment. It culminates in the warrior's dance-the Dance of a Hundred Drums, on the final day which is a spectacular sight.
Doregata Dance festival is another dance in which, while dancing the women try to knock off the turbans of their male partners. If the women succeed, it is followed by peals of laughter.
The Lahoo Dance is performed by both male and female for entertainment. Attired in their best costumes usually two young men on either side of a woman, holding arms together dance in step.