- Geneviève Dournon
Three-string fiddle of Madhya Pradesh (Mandla district), India. About 70 cm long, it is made up of a squarish soundbox of mango wood with incurved sides, covered with a soundtable of calf’s stomach membrane, and a bamboo neck. The three horsehair strings are tuned by lateral wooden pegs and played with a bow to which are attached little pellet-bells. In the central Mandla province, bana is the instrument used by the Pardhan to accompany their repertory of epic religious ballads. The Pardhan are the genealogist bards of the Gond, who were once sovereigns of the powerful kingdom of Gondwana and now make up the largest tribal population of India. Other fiddles of the same type but with a less sophisticated construction, called kikir or kingiri, are occasionally found among the Muria Gond, who live in the hilly hinterland of Bastar. Gogia bana is a misnomer for the Pardhan bow harp....