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Sarinja/Sarinda

The Sarinja (pron. sarinjya) of North Bengal is an ancient  small three stringed bowed instrument, a kind of waisted fiddle and possibly a precursor to the violin. A popular folk instrument of the Rajbongshis, its sound is very sweet and it is usually played solo or as an accompanying instrument with the Dehatattwa or Monoshikhha type of Bhawaiya songs. Also known as the Sarinda in some regions, it is sometimes used by Baul-Fakirs to accompany their music. Other than North Bengal, this instrument is nearly extinct.



The Sarinja (pron. sarinjya) of North Bengal is an ancient  small three stringed bowed instrument, a kind of waisted fiddle and possibly a precursor to the violin. A popular folk instrument of the Rajbongshis, its sound is very sweet and it is usually played solo or as an accompanying instrument with the Dehatattwa or Monoshikhha type of Bhawaiya songs. Also known as the Sarinda in some regions, it is sometimes used by Baul-Fakirs to accompany their music. Other than North Bengal, this instrument is nearly extinct.

Sarinja Resonator
Scholars believe  that the Sarinda reached its highest development in Punjab, Rajasthan, Sind, Baluchistan, Afghanistan and the eastern provinces of Iran, migrating from there to east India. The dhodro banam of the Santals is believed to be a primitive cousin of the Sarinda/Sarinja.   

Carved out of a single log of wood, (usually the jackfruit tree) the Sarinja is about 18 to 22 inches long with a resonator at one end, from which extends a 12 inch long neck. The resonator is a uniquely shaped hollow - or rather two connected hollows. The upper part has a transverse diameter of about 8" and a depth of 4" and the lower hollow 3 to 4" and 3 to 3.5" respectively. It is only the lower hollow that is covered with goat or monitor lizard skin into which a couple of holes are always punched in. Sometimes the head is decoratively shaped with the forms of Radha-Krishna or a horse head or bird.

Sarinja player
A Sarinja has 3 tuning pegs attached to its neck - each attached to a melodic string which stretches over the length of the instrument, passing over the grooves of  a bridge attached to the skin on the resonator and finally tied to a knob or clip at the base of the instrument. The strings are traditionally made of muga silk. The Sarinja is played with a bow made from a curved piece of wood, about 10" long; the bowstrings are usually made from horsehair. Resin is applied on the strings to increase friction and the instrument is always held vertically. 

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