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date: 14 November 2019

Daula [davula, davul]locked

  • Natalie M. Webber

Extract

[davula, davul]

Double-headed cylindrical drum of Sri Lanka. It is suspended horizontally from a hemp sling around the player’s waist and beaten with one hand and a stick. The body of the drum is made from jak, or some other hardwood, usually painted red and gold. The length varies, but is usually about 51 cm, and the diameter is 38 to 46 cm. The heads are made from deerskin or calfskin, secured by cane hoops. Hemp braces are stretched between the two hoops, passing through 12 sliding thongs, or metal rings, which are used for tuning. The curved stick, formerly of ivory, is now made from the hardwood shrub āṭṭēriya, similar in texture and colour to ivory. It can be used in either hand.

The instrument dates back at least 400 years in Sri Lanka. The death of a Sinhalese monarch was marked by an 11-day relay of solo daula players, garbed in black and standing on a heap of paddy as protection from the ‘evil’ music they were playing. Its use as a signalling instrument of a more general kind continued after the end of the monarchy in ...

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