Friday, December 5, 2008

Dhimsa- Songs from the woods of Araku

Below is a small video clip of the tribal dance form called Dhimsa. I took the clip while on work with a NGO in a small hamlet near Araku, Andhra Pradesh. The locals there were part of a community farming project of organic coffee. The NGO was facilitating building up a cooperative of small & marginal farmers, training them on organic farming & finally helping them to find buyers. A central minister with his family had accompanied us to this place because his wife wanted to take a look at the farm to source the produce for her new organic coffee boutique in Hyderabad. Araku lies on the Eastern Ghats with a moderate elevation where coffee is farmed on the slopes under the shade of Silver oak trees. So after a small climb to the plantations amidst the woods, the entourage was sufficiently tired & needed some entertainment. A colleague of mine had thoughtfully arranged for a durbar of the tribals with the minister followed by a dance performance. Dhimsa is normally performed on full moon nights by the women folk supported by a local band with their drums & flute. But this performance was sometimes in the afternoon. Nevertheless, it is a centuries old dance form, which I was lucky enough to witness.

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