Beru is the most popular form of music and dance in the
country, enjoyed by the young and the old, men and women.
There is a Bodu Beru troupe in almost every inhabited island
and is regularly played at special functions and festivalss.
The musical instruments used in Bodu Beru consist of three or
four drums and a variety of percussion instruments. The drums
are made from hollowed coconut wood and covered on both ends
with manta ray skin or goat hide. A lead singer chants the
lyrics and a chorus of 10 to 15 follows as they clap to the
beat of the drums. The rhythm build as the song continues
until it reaches a frenzied crescendo.
As the rhythm picks up, dancers come out from amongst the
troupe swaying to the rhythm. As the beat becomes faster the
dancers leap and jerk to the beat as if in a trance. Onlookers
join in the clapping and dancing. Old men, suddenly catch a
stray rhythm and throw themselves into the arena. To wild
applause from the crowd they gyrate and grimace in their
dance, passing on to the young what they have learnt from
their forefathers. According to some historians Bodu Beru was
introduced to the country in the early 19th century by African
slaves. During the reign of Mueenuddeen I these slaves were
liberated and sent to Feridhoo in Ari Atoll. It is believed
that bodu beru spread out from there to become one of the most
popular forms of entertainment in the country.
Thaara also holds a special place in local entertainment. Two lines of
men attired in white sit on the ground and sing beating hand drums while
others dance between them. Thaara is believed to have been introduced
from the Middle East in the seventeenth century. Today Thaara is only
played at national events.
Dhandijehun is another form of entertainment, which is popular
throughout the country. This is mostly performed to celebrate festive
events such as Eid and other national occasions.
Bandiyaa Jehun is a more popular form of dance performed by young women.
The women carrying metal water pots stand in two lines facing each. They
sing and dance to melodious tunes while taping the rhythm on the pots
with rings worn on the fingers.
Although western pop and Indian music is quite popular today,
traditional forms of music and song that have been passed down to us by
our ancestors survive. Raivaru, farihi and bandhi are all unique styles
of singing that are still practiced by people around the country.