Music And Dance

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Drums of Burundi

Burundi is a small country of some 8 million people located in the east of Africa. Drum has an important symbolic meaning in the life of local population. It used to be a mean of communication. Drum was also important during battles. The side who captured the drum of the opponent won the battle. Drum used to symbolize maternity. Different parts of a drum have names like for example breast or womb. Drums are still used at many birth celebrations, weddings, funerals etc. They were used at coronations too.


Pungmul (p'ungmul) is a traditional Korean music style. Each performance includes tens of dancers, drummers and singers. In the beginning pungmul was performed by farmers during everyday events or in shamanistic rites.

Dragon and Lion dances

Many Chinese festivities like Chinese New Year traditionally include Dragon and Lion dances. In the Dragon Dance (“wǔ lóng”) up to 50 people use sticks to hold the dragon.


Ganggangsullae is an ancient Korean harvest dance. It is performed at night by women only.


Cueca is a traditional Latino American dance and music style.


Hula is a traditional dance of Hawaii. What about its origin? There are several legends about it. Here is one of them.


Schuhplattler is a traditional dance of the German Bavaria region and Austria. In the past it used to be a way to impress single girls. It is danced in slow ¾ time. Dancers rhythmically kick their thighs, knees and soles of the feet. They also stamp with their feet.
Schuhplattler dance Schuhplattler dance


Balalaika is a traditional Russian musical instrument. This string instrument has a triangualar body and tree strings. There are are balalaikas with six strings too.
contrabass balalaika Contrabass balalaika


Kora is a traditional harp-lute. It has 21 strings. It is a musical instrument played in Mali and some other westafrican countries. Person playing kora is called “jali.” The instrument is made of large calabash (Lagenaria siceraria) which is cut in half and covered with cow skin which serves as a resonator. Kora also has a notched bridge similar to those of a lute or guitar.
kora Kora – harp-lute musical instrument from West Africa


Chinelos is a traditional carnival dance in the Mexican state of Morelos. Chinelo is also a dancer performing this dance. Dancers dance to special tunes played by the local brass band. Today the best dancers can be found in towns like Tepoztlán, Yautepec, Coacalco etc.
Chinelo Chinelo


Talerschwingen or talerrollen is an unusual tradition popular in the east of Switzerland. It appeared at the beginning of the 20th century. A 5 Swiss franc coin is put inside an earthenware bowl. The bowl is placed on palm of a hand and then slowly rotated. The sound that is created is kind of similar to the one of cow bells. According to locals the talerschwingen goes well with the yodeling folk singing. Talerschwingen is also used in performances of some artists.

Inuit throat singing

Inuit throat singing is a traditional musical form. It can also be seen as kind of game. It is known under different names – katajjaq, piqqusiraarniq, nipaquhiit etc. It is performed by two women. They stand face to face holding each other's arms.
Inuit throat singing Inuit throat singing


Gagaku ("elegant music") is a type of Japanese classical music. It arrived from Korea together with the Buddhism. For several centuries it was part of everyday life at the Imperial Court in Kyoto. Gagaku includes songs that belong to three traditional music forms – kuniburi no utamai, komagaku and togaku. Melodies in gagaku music are based on Yo (pentatonic) scale.
Gagaku Gagaku


Huayno (huayño) is the name of dance and music popular in the Andean countries of South America. In the Quechua language which is widely spoken in the Andes it is known as wayñu. The huayno is originally from Serrania, Peru. It represents unique combination of traditional folk music and modern rhythms created in big cities.


Kalbelia is a traditional dance and the nomadic tribe of same name in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Kalbelia is danced by female dancers. They wear traditional black dresses embroidered with silver ribbons. They spin in circle. Their moves resemble those of a snake.
Kalbelia dancer Kalbelia dancer

Scissors dance

The Scissors dance or Danza de las tijeras is the traditional dance from the Peruvian region of Ayacucho.

Kuda Lumping

There is a traditional Indonesian dance involving a group of dancers who “ride” on colourful horses made of bamboo and cloth.

Hejnał mariacki

Everyone in the Polish city of Krakow knows the Hejnał mariacki ("St. Mary's dawn"). This simple tune is sort of city hymn.


Verdiales is one form of the traditional Spanish flamenco music. It is typical for Los Verdiales region located north of Malaga, Andalucia. Special verdial olives are grown in the region. The word “verdiales” actually comes from Latin word “verdan” which means green.
Panda performing Verdiales music Panda performing Verdiales music


Topeng (in Indonesian “mask”) is a traditional Indonesian dance where one or more performers wear a mask.


Angklung is a traditional Indonesian musical instrument. It is originally from the western part of Java. It is made of bamboo pipes. Each angklung has an individual sound. The sound is created by shaking the object. Songs are performed by an ensemble where each person plays one or several instruments.
Angklung Angklung

Sword dances

Sword dances exist in parts of Europe and Asia. There are dances with only one dancer. Dances with group of dancers usually perform false battles. Chholiya is a dance from the Indian Kumaon region located in the state of Uttarakhand. It is part of local wedding celebration. It is believed its performance ensures protection from evil spirits. Music for this dance is played with numerous traditional instruments like for example turi, naghpani, dhol or nausuriya muruli. The use of bagpipe is result of British influence. Group of 14 men performs the music.


Parachicos is a traditional Mexican dance performed during the Grand Feast in the city of Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico. The festival is held between the 4th and 23rd of January. It honours local patron saints – Saint Sebastian, Saint Anthony Abbot and Our Lord of Esquipulas.
Parachicos Parachicos

Chhau dance

Chhau dance is a traditional dance popular in Indian states of Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand. As to the place of origin there are three major styles of this dance - Seraikella, Purulia and Mayurbhanj. Dancers performing first two styles wear masks. Chhau dance includes themes from classical Indian epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. Elements of local folklore, religious texts called Puranas and even some abstract themes exist too. There are only male dancers.
Chhau dance Chhau dance


Polka is a lively dance and type of folk music. It is popular all over Europe but also in parts of Mexico, the United States and some other countries. Typical band performing polka includes instruments like trumpet, clarinet, accordion, guitar, drums, tuba and zither.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance that is performed in the village of Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire. The dance takes place each year on Wakes Monday. The date varies, so it is between the 6th and 12th of September.
Abbots Bromley Horn Dance Abbots Bromley Horn Dance


Periniţa or Perniţa (from Romanian pernă which means a pillow) is a traditional Romanian and Moldavian wedding dance. The dancers dance standing in circle. Inside the circle there is a person who also dances. She/he holds a handkerchief or some scarf. She/he then put a handkerchief around his/her neck. They kiss on the cheek and change places. It means that the person who got the handkerchief starts the same ritual by dancing inside the circle. Little bit about the origin of the dance. It was actually named after a pillow on which a man puts his knee when kneeling and proposing a woman.

Samba de Roda

Samba de Roda is a traditional Brazilian dance from the region of Recôncavo located in the state of Bahia. It combines traditions of African Slaves and those of the Portuguese. This dance spread to other parts of Brazil where it became base for the development of the Samba known to people all over the World as one of Brazilian national symbols.
Samba de Roda Samba de Roda


Yangge or Yang Ge (in Chinese “Rice Sprout Song”) is a traditional Chinese dance. It has its origin in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It is performed to usher in the Spring Festival and the coming New Year. Dancers wear colourful clothes and silk ribbons around their waists. They dance in a line or a circle. Some dancers also use a waistdrum, dancing fan and a donkey figure. A drum, trumpet and gong are used to perform the music.

Traditional drums of Sri Lanka

Drums have been part of everyday life in Sri Lanka for more than 2,500 years. It is believed that there are about 30 traditional drums. But only some 10 of them are used today. They are Geta Bera (Bera drum), Yak Bera, Davula, Thammattama, Udakkiya, Dakkiya, Bummadiya, Hand Rabana, Bench Rabana and Dandu Beraya.
Sri Lankan drummer Sri Lankan drummer