The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: singing and playing fiddle
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Namsang
date: 19.3.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 12.2.1937-31.3.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Late in the evening two boys came and sang for me while one of them played on a fiddle-like instrument with a single string. Their songs, several of which I took down, (and then could read out to them to their enormous amazement), are more appealing than any of the Konyak songs I have ever heard. The boy with the fiddle first sang a verse which was then repeated in variation by both of them together, for which they also repeated the words in several alterations. They also attempted a kind of tremelo in this duo which was effectively emphasised by very short strikes on the instrument. The boy was playing only one note on the instrument during each song but he could vary this note by shortening the string with the help of a ring. However this cannot be done while playing. Before each verse the player wets the small bow with his tongue. It was late when the two left me.