The earthy tunes of Rajasthan’s folk instruments have patrons across the globe. The rhythmic, almost penetrating melodies of these instruments are bound to make you experience the bliss of whole new dimension. All these instruments are made by using locally available resources. This limitation of resources gives them their signature warm touch, which has now become synonymous to the folk music of Rajasthan.
Kamaicha, one of the oldest bowed instruments, is the heart and soul of the, this Rajasthani folk music. The base of the whole instrument is carved out of a single piece of matured mango wood. The craftsman carves the basic shape, and then goes on to refine and smoothen it using finer tools. From the inception of the making process, one can easily identify the most significant part of the instrument, its resonator. Kamaicha as a bowed instrument has a pretty big resonator for its aggregate size, a factor responsible for the warm tone of the musical instrument.
The other significant parts of the instrument are the strings. The simplest Kamaicha would have total 12 strings (3 main, other sympathetic ones), whereas the complex ones have up to 17 strings. To accommodate these many strings on the instrument, a long bridge made of sheesham wood is attached in the middle of the taut goat leather. The strings themselves are made of goat’s guts, at least the the three primary ones, rest are made of stainless steel.
Having the primeval origin, Kamaicha does not have much of the history associated with it, except that the oldest of the records about Kamaicha depicts its association with the tribal community of musicians- Manganiars (AKA Merasi). For generations, Merasis are playing this instrument for royals’ entertainment. Even now, many of them are earning their livelihood thanking the presence of this magical instrument. You can easily find a Manganiyar singing and playing the heart-warming rhythmic tunes on his Kamaicha, in the surroundings of any of the popular forts in Rajasthan.