Tassa drums is called Dhol nagada in Hindi. The name Tassa surely seems a bit different, but this art of music is being practiced in India since ages. And with time, Tassa drumming has grown its name and fame in other countries around the world as well.
A uniquely Indo-Trinidadian form, Tassa drumming invites exploration of how the distinctive nature of the Indian diaspora and its relationship to its ancestral homeland influenced Indo-Caribbean music culture.
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Here is a video of Tassa drum performance in a West Indian country:
In Trinidad and Tobago, annual Tassa drumming competitions are held at the national level which gives a lot of encouragement to this form of art.
Tassa Drumming is especially associated and marked as a symbol of joy in Hindu weddings, seeking attentions in political rallies, Muslim Muharram commemorations, Indo-Cultural events, parties and much more. It is played in a group which adds on to the rhythm and thus provides heavy bass.
In India, while it was known as the Tasha drumming which is an integral part of many Hindu events like marriage, Ganesh Chathurthi etc, in the 1800s during British colonial rule, a number of Indians moved to Caribbean islands, they took this art with them. Today Trinidad is one of the major exponents of this art.
The name, however, got modified to Tassa from Tasha when it reached Caribbean countries of the world but the popularity has only increased. Indian diaspora has played a big part in spreading it all around the world.
Even in the Indo-Caribbean communities like New York, Texas, New Jersey, Canada, Guyana and many more, tassa drumming has proudly been a part of most of the ceremonies.
(Inputs from Mukul Gogna)