The Maldives


Thaara is the Dhivehi word for tambourine. It is performed by about 22 people seated in two parallel rows facing each other. It is a type of music which has a semi religious touch, and is distinct to men only. In Thaara, there is both singing and dancing. The early songs which accompanied Thaara were in Arabic. The songs start with a very slow tempo and gradually increases to reach a crescendo.

The performers wear white sarongs and white shirts with a green scarf tied around their necks.

Thaara was introduced to The Maldives by the Gulf Arabs who came here in the mid 17th century. A type of music similar to Thaara is still practised in the Gulf and in south Arabia.

Thaara was played in the fulfilment of vows, and special times was accompanied by a pseudo act called "Wajid" which is now banned by the government, but the singing and dancing still continue as an entertainment.

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