Damphu drum

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Performers using Damphu

Damphu, or Damfoo, is a double-sided disk-shaped drum topped with leather and with a long wooden handle. This is a very rare musical instrument belonging to the indigenous Tamang Community. Damphu is a percussion instrument similar to a big tambourine. This instrument is used to play the melodious Tamang selo. The popular ancient folk instrument Damphu, and the original rhythm of Tamang Selo have a unique importance and influence in Nepalese culture and folk music. This instrument is very easy to play and easy to learn.[1][2]


There are many saying and stories about invention of Damphu in the Tamang community. It is like an ornament of Tamba. Tamba sings our historical and ritual songs with Damphu. According to Tamba - Once upon a time a man named Peng Dorje who was a hunter used to go to the jungle and kill animals. As usual, on a fine day he went hunting and killed a deer. After seeing the corpse of the deer his wife became very sad because the deer was so beautiful. Since that day she kept on weeping. Peng Dorje was worried about his wife's sadness. He tried to make her happy. He used many tricks to put a smile on her face. But he was unable to do that. Her sadness knew no bounds. Peng Dorje always wanted to see his wife very happy. Where there is a will, there is a way, He then went to the jungle and bought a 4 feet long wood called 'Ambu Sing'. He shaped it into 4 inches width and made a circle. He made 32 sticks made up of bamboo too. Then he tightened the dry deerskin on one side of the circle with the help of 32 bamboo sticks. The circle created melodious sounds - 'Trak Dhin'. He started to sing, remembering his ancestors and gods with the beat of that newly invented instrument. All creatures began to dance and his wife also started to dance upon hearing the wonderfully created melody. A bird-"Danphe" was also dancing beautifully to the melody. So Peng Dorje named the circle Damphu.

Then Damphu became a part of the Tamang people's culture and lifestyle. Tamang people use Damphu in each and every event, such as marriage ceremonies, funeral ceremonies, special occasions, rituals and festivals. Tamang people express their happiness, sadness, remember their ancestors and tell their history through a song with Damphu. Damphu symbolizes Buddha and Bodhisatwa too. 32 bamboo sticks symbolize Buddha's 32 symbols.[3]

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