Pena

Name: Pena.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Spike > Fiddle > Bowed.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.312.7
Country: Manipur, India.
Region: South Asia.

Description: The [in Meetei: ꯄꯦꯅꯥ Pena ; in Tangkhul or Naga Language ; Tingtelia] is a mono string instrument falling in the lute category, similar to some of the traditional Indian stringed musical instruments such as Ravanahatha, Ubo or the Kenda that found in various parts of the country.

Etymology: It is generally believed that the name of the instrument is a derivation of the ancient Meetei term, Pena sheijing Pena. The Nagas call the instrument, Tingtelia. It is the traditional music instrument of the Meetei community of Manipur, India. The Pena is also found in some regions in Bangladesh. It is played either solo or in group, in folk music or as the accompanying musical instrument for Lai Haraoba festivals.

Pena playing is becoming a dying art as only 145 active Pena players are reported in Manipur. The Center for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Art [Laihui], an organization headed by renowned Pena player, Khangembam Mangi Singh has mandated a vision to revive Pena music.

History: The Pena, considered to be one of the oldest Meetei musical instruments, was once believed to be a part of luxurious living and was played at the royal gatherings. However, the instrument slowly got associated with the folk culture of Manipur and Bangladesh where its presence became regular during festivals. Manipuri festival of Lai Haraoba fostered the use of the instrument considerably. Later, it also made its presence in the folk theatre.

Pena Repertoire
 Names Type
1. Yaikairol Morning
2. Lai-eekouba Festivals
3. Khunung-Eesei Folk
4. Luhongba Marriage
5. Wari -Liba Narrating Story
6. PuYa Paba PuYa

Construction: The instrument consist of two parts, the main body, penamasa or dhorr which is similar to that of a violin and the bow, pena cheijing or chorr, which is more resembling an archery bow than a violin bow. The main body is made out of a length of bamboo ranging from 25.4 cm or 10 inches to 27.94 cm or 11 inches long and 2.54 cm or 1 inch to 3.175 cm or 1.25 inches girth.

The girth is affixed to a coconut shell that is cut in half. Through two holes bore through the shell. Two additional holes are also drilled on the coconut shell for acoustic purposes. One of which is covered by dried animal skin such as iguana skin and the other, left open.

The tension of the string is controlled by a bamboo peg, called kaan and is fitted inside a hole drilled on the bamboo rod. A scroll, mogra, is also tied to the instrument tail. The bow is wooden and bears a curved flourish at one end which is made of metal. In some parts, the bow also features tiny metal bells. The string is traditionally made of horse hair but, sometimes, metal strings and strings made out of wood fibre are also used.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites: [Youtube] Pena Demonstration – Pena being revived in Manipur, India ;

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