- Natalie M. Webber
Clay drum of Sri Lanka. It is shaped as a bulbous pot with a short neck that flares to make a wide mouth which is covered by a skin from the spotted iguana (talagoya). At the base of the pot another short neck is left open. The total length varies from 38 to 51 cm. The drum hangs diagonally from a hemp sling secured around both necks and across the player’s shoulder. One hand beats the skin head; the other covers and uncovers the aperture at the base, altering the tone and pitch.
The bummädiya appears to have ritualistic origins, because it was made before sowing paddy, probably to propitiate the earth goddess. Superb examples, often engraved and painted, exist in Sinhalese museums and temple treasure-houses. It is now comparatively rare but in the 1980s was still used occasionally in the hill-country villages around Kandy, to accompany songs for sowing and harvesting....