Dance Ritual - 'Awakening of the Gods'
Dance Ritual - 'Awakening of the Gods'
Laihou Jagoi ‘Awakening of the Gods’ Bundle filenames • Media files: NupaAmaibi_Ameilon_20012017_video_dance_639-3.MP4 NupaAmaibi_Ameilon_20012017_INF.CONS_Bobby_639-3.MP4 • Elan file: NupaAmaibi_Ameilon_20012017_video_dance_639-3.eaf • Pdf translation file: NupaAmaibi_Ameilon_20012017_video_dance_639-3_translation.pdf Basic metadata Date of recording: 20th January, 2017. Location: Temple of Ima Bobby Amaibi, in Chingmeirong, Imphal. Participants: Ima Bobby Amaibi, Naba Amaibi, Sarat Amaibi, Liklai Amaibi, Jelendro playing the pena (string instrument) and Kangjamba playing the dhulok (drum). Others present: Karen, Meiphak (disciple of Ima Bobby Amaibi). Description: Laihou Jagoi ‘awakening of the gods’, is a traditional dance-ritual of the Sanamahi. It is performed by solely by Amaibi (priestesses). Interestingly, the Amaiba (male priests of Sanamahi), do not engage in dance or magical practices. The Amaibi performing in this text are several Nupa Amaibi, and one Nupi Amaibi (cisgender priestess). This recording is considered by the investigator to be the centerpiece of the project. The text contains many archaic words which do not occur in contemporary Manipur outside the ritual genre. Unlike the other recordings, the language used in the text is pure Amailon, and the relationship between the archaic and the modern can be seen in the many grammatical markers which are used in modern Meitei, and are also in evident this text. Much of the lexical content in the text is however no longer in use in contemporary Meitei. The investigator learned that unlike the other texts recorded, this one is unintelligible to almost all Meitei speakers who are not Amaibi practitioners. Only a small amount of the oldest generation (70+) are able to gain any understanding of the words. Yet the grammatical patterns are largely familiar, with some interesting exceptions. There are also some stark differences found in grammatical patterns of Amailon compared to Meitei. One of the most interesting of these is the proliferation of gender-marking on nouns. As Chelliah notes in her A Grammar of Meithei (1997), in modern Meitei these are restricted to a small amount of nouns such as occupational agentives. The implication is that over time, probably with the influences of Hindi and Bengali, these gender markers [pi / pa] have been de-grammaticalized, as gender marking took on a much more semantic basis for usage. The fact that a much wider usage of gender marking occurs in this orally transmitted ancient text implies that at least in this area of case-marking, in pre-colonial Manipur, the language was somewhat different grammatically. The performance consists of interactional singing and dancing, and is accompanied by two indigenous instruments, the string instrument called pena, and the drum, called khulok. The text is both a story and a ritual designed to invoke the gods. Various gods feature in the text notably the sky god Atiya Kuru Sidabi, and the goddesses Lairembi and Panthoibi. The story is packed with metaphorical language, much of which semantically relates to a magical code of sexual symbolism.
Ima Bobby (consultant), Meiphak (musician), Sarat (consultant), Jalendro (consultant), Naba (consultant)
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