Text Box:  KAALI

                     Playing Kaali always considered as an auspicious activity. Before playing,  all the parts of the Kaali are generally  dismantled and cleaned. The player blows to the Pati and plays with the key holes on the Bähi, to produce different notes.

There are four major components in Kaali; like a Pëpa, all these are fitted together while playing Kaali. The place where air is blown is smaller in size , and the diameter gradually increases  towards the other end. The shape of Kaali has similarity with flowers like Rajanigandha .


Parts of Kaali

             The main parts of Kaali are

1. Kando

2. Bähi

3. Mukhoni

4. Pati


Kando : The wide bell shaped Kando is the largest component of Kaali, and is made of bell metal or Brass. The shape of the Kando is parabolic and it is fabricated from sheet metal. The Kando is comparable with Bell of a clarinet, however substantially bigger in relative size.


Bähi : The part attached to Kando is the Bähi, it is made of wood or bamboo. There are 6 to 7 key holes in the Bähi and the notes are produced playing with these holes. To reinforce Bähi, a few copper of bell metal rings are introduced on the outer side of it.


Mukhoni : The bell metal part next to Bähi is the Mukhoni. Sometimes a few turns of thread are introduced in the Mukhoni so that in fits tightly to the Bähi .


Pati ; Pati is the main sound producing element of Kaali. Two flat pieces of Nal ( a local grass variety) are tied together to make pati, which is comparable with Thuri of Pëpa. Pati needs high level of craftsmanship. The shape and size pati, position of the knot, along with its cleanliness etc. are vital factors upon which the sound of the Kaali depends.


             To facilitate easy and quick assembly and dismantling of these parts, special connectors are fixed to the Kando and the Bähi, made of Silver or Brass.

                     Kaali is predominantly used in the Kamrup and Mangaldoi regions of Assam. Once, a Kaali performance was a must in any  marriages in these places. Kaali is accompanied with  Bor-Dhol, Dhepa-Dhol, Bhortal performances,  In different customs playing  Kaali is believed auspicious. In illustrious Auniaati Xatra of Majuli, this instrument has its own special importance. According to Dr. Debajit Saikia , author of Badya Abhigyan Kaali playing is compulsory in various functions of the Xatra such as Akaxbonti Prajwalan, Nirmali Lowa Utsav, Pradakshin anusthan etc.

              Kaali is an ancient  Musical Instrument of Assam, having its mention in religious literature. Kaali is also known as Kahili, Kahali etc. and in Goalpara region as Shanai ( Sehnai) . Kaali is an instrument similar to Sehnai, a famous musical instrument of India.  There were three types kaali used in Assamese Folk culture in earlier times, known as Bir-Kaali, Joy- Kaali and Ghor-Kaali. In lower Assam Kaali is accompanied in Dhol performances. The Ahom kings appointed specialist Kaali and Bheri players at Auniati Xatra of Majuli,known as Kaaliya’s and Bheruyas  respectively.

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1.  Badya Abhigyan ; Dr. Devajit Saikia – Axom Naam Xamaroh Udjapon xomiti- Auniaati Xatra

2.Axomor Badyajantra—   Dharmeswar Duwara—   Bani Prakash



Image source  internet