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Encyclopedia > Iktar

Ektara (Bangla: একতারা; also called ektar or gopichand) is a one string instrument used in Bangladesh and India. It literally means single-stringed (ek - one, tara - string). This article is about the Bengali language. ...


In origin the ektara was a regular string instrument of wandering bards and minstrels from India and is plucked with one finger. The ektara usually has a stretched single string, an animal skin over a head (made of dried pumpkin/gourd, wood or coconut) and pole neck or split bamboo cane neck. Pressing the two halves of the neck together changes the pitch, creating an unusual sound. The strings of the ektara give a range of tones by applying pressure at various points along the neck. The various sizes are a soprano ektara, tenor ektara, or bass ektara. The bass ektara, sometimes called a dotara often has two strings. A string instrument (or stringed instrument) is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. ...


These instruments are commonly used in Kirtan chanting, which is a Hindu devotional practice of singing the divine names and mantras in an ecstatic call and response format. Used by Sadhus, or wandering holy men. Also, the ektara is used for Sufi chanting as well as by the Bauls of Bengal. Kirtan originated in the Hindu tradition as loving songs sung to God. ... Sufism (Arabic تصوف taṣawwuf) is a system of esoteric philosophy commonly associated with Islam. ... Bengal, known as Bôngo (Bengali: বঙ্গ), Bangla (বাংলা), Bôngodesh (বঙ্গদেশ), or Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) in Bangla, is a region in the northeast of South Asia. ...


Nowadays the ektara is widely used by folk singers. Traditional and modern forms of bhangra sometimes use an ektara to accompany the singer and dhol. Bhangra (Punjabi: , بھنگڑا, ) is both a lively dance which is from the region of Punjab, now divided between North India and Pakistan, and the musical accompaniment to the dance. ... The dhol is a drum (a percussion musical instrument) widely used in Persia,Armenia, the Indian/Pakistani province of Punjab and Gujarat. ...


The ektara has been made popular in the United States by devotional Kirtan wallahs, such as the legendary Western sadhu Bhagavan Das, author of Its Here Now, Are You? and of Be Here Now and 1970s fame and kirtan recording artist.


 
 

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