Bodu beru is a music form entirely dependent on song and drums for its effects. About twenty to thirty men, of all ages sing and dance to the accompaniment of three large drums. Percussion is made by small bells and an instrument known as the onugandu (a piece of bamboo with horizontal grooves). The performance begins on a slow tempo and increases till a very fast pace is acquired, while the dancers gyrate and make funny faces. The music has a strong back beat which involuntarily gets your foot tapping. The origin of this music form is unknown. It has been suggested by various authorities that it might have been brought from somewhere in Central Africa.
Langiri is a song and dance presentation which originated during the early years of the twentieth century, possibly during the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin III. It is believed to be a modified form of the thaara dance, and is performed by about fifteen to twenty young men. Each dancer holds a stick, with papier-mâché’ flower attached to one end of it, in each hand. The sticks are about 24 inches in length and are known as langiri dhandi. The performers sit in two rows, sing, and sway their bodies in time to the beat, while hitting the langiri dhandis belonging to his three neighbors, seated in front.
This is a dance oriented music form performed by girls bearing pots (bandiyaa). About fifteen to twenty girls dance and gyrate to the music of drums and singing. The girls form two rows facing each other and sway their bodies gracefully and rap on the pots rhythmically. The performers whirl and swing their long hair from side to side. The origin of this dance form is not known.
This dance is today performed only in the island of Kulhudhuffushi in South Thiladhummathi Atoll, in the north of the country. Beat and percussion is provided by drums and an instrument known as a kadhaa, from which the dance gets its name. Kadhaa is basically a copper plate and a rod. The dance is performed by about twenty five to thirty men, dressed in costumes depicting various evil spirits. These spirits are collectively known as maali. The dance symbolizes the banishment of evil spirits, associated with sickness and disease, from the island. Kadhaa-maali was usually performed during late evening, at the culmination of three nights of ritual exorcism, performed by the island elders.
Gau Odee Neshun
This is a dance performed by about twenty to thirty men standing in two rows facing each other. Music is provided by drums and vocals. At the end the dancers form a circle around a ‘malaafai’ or a container with cash or some eatable inside, which they ceremoniously lift over their heads. This dance is performed after the completion of a task ordered by the Sultan. The lyrics are mixture of Arabic, Urdu and Dhivehi. The general theme seems to be a prayer for the good health and well being of the Sultan.
Thaara jehun is performed by about twenty men, bearing tambourines. They move in rhythmic movements to the singing accompanied by drums. The lyrics of the songs for the most part hold no meaning although a few Arabic, Dhivehi and Persian words are evident. In its original form thaara was known to have had strong elements of self-mortification. During the performance the dancer stabs and pierces his body with knives and iron rods, while in a self induced trance, without sustaining any apparent injuries. This aspect of the dance is now banned. Although the origin of thaara dance is not known, the people of Giraavaru were the last to perform it in its original form.