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Photographer's Note

Ladakh's culture is very alive and kept the music as a part of their daily life. "Mon" is not a caste or ethnic group, but simply musicians, musicians of palace.

Surna and Daman are the most commonly used instruments all the time. Surna, and aboe-like instrument like the Indian Shehnai. Daman, a pair of drums similar to Indian Tabla.

Both of these are said to have been introduced at the time of the Balti connection at the beginning of the seventeeth century; a band of musicians with their instruments came from Baltistan as a part of the dowry of Gyan Katun, Sengge Namgyal's mother. They were settled in Phiyang, and they and their descendants enjoyed the title og Khar-Mon.

Of this music, the most immediately striking feature is the beat. The rhythms are amazingly intricate, involving patterns of anything from four to sixteen beats. The seven-beat meter is particularly popular, and with frequent cross-rhythms as differently pitched daman play against each other.

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Additional Photos by Vandana Bajikar (vandana2923) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 29 W: 0 N: 111] (479)
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