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Mohanam crafts

Mohanam's work bench..

Bamboo instruments from tongue-drums to shakers, from string boxes to xylophones and even flutes..

Since October 2001, a new project is running in the rooms of the Mohanam Cultural Centre which increasingly draws the interest of musicians and other parties interested in music. 'Mohanam Crafts' is the name of an interesting movement resulting from the collaboration between some young Mohanam team members and Aurelio of Auroville's Village Action Group: they are inventing -and building- different kinds of instruments from tongue-drums to shakers, from string boxes to xylophones and even flutes.
Having held a first successful exhibition of, and concert with, their musical instruments in the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium in Auroville's Bharat Nivas in February '02, the team is sufficiently encouraged to proceed with their explorations, and a next exhibition will take place in Pondicherry in August '02.

The art of instrument making

This art goes back to the beginning of our human culture, and it's interesting to wonder whether the first primitive bow was actually used for hunting or playing music! The history of musical instruments reflects the evolution of the human species: from archaic instruments like a simple pair of sticks, bones or stones, through the finely crafted string instruments in the classical periods to the most sophisticated high-tech electronic sound studios of today.

Bamboo, beauty and sound..


The last century saw a rapid growth of new inventions of musical instruments, together with the reintegration of ancient and primitive 'sound-makers' into the field of education, therapy and music production. This is another sign of the unfolding of a global culture, a synthesis where basic elements and universal principles of music are re-discovered and applied as a unified human expression of beauty and harmony.

Direct access to the joy of music

The Craft section of Mohanam Cultural Centre wants to reflect this trend and may possibly be one of the few places on the Indian subcontinent experimenting in the field of creating new musical instruments. Its focus lies on instruments that should be accessible to everybody, independent of talent or predisposition, directly bringing the joy of music into one's hands and heart.

How it came about..

Aurelio, Sivanesan and Kartik, creating..

Kartik and Shivanesan of the Mohanam Crafts team initially had training and work experience in house painting and carpentry. Having participated in several programmes with Aurelio - an innovative musician, dancer, instrument maker and educationalist living in Auroville - they maintained and repaired some of the latter's percussion instruments from various parts of the world. They showed a great talent in working with the instruments and had a keen interest to build some of these instruments themselves.

Bamboo as ground material

In spite of difficulties of finding suitable materials, learning to work with those and using only primitive tools, they got the knack of it very quickly and soon learned the 'art of tuning'. It didn't take long for them to then start designing their own 'sound-creations' using bamboo as ground material, like for the bars of a new kind of xylophone, for shakers or even for drums.
Because of the increasing demand of some musicians in the area, they are now also offering their skill for repair work to local musicians and theatre companies.

Exploration with ever-new discoveries

Mohanam Crafts sees itself as an ongoing exploration with ever-new discoveries, and hopefully many more new musical instruments will appear as an expression of a youthful contemporary culture based on the gifts and values of the ancient traditions.

the joy of designing new 'sound-creations' ..

For further information regarding a product description, price list, order forms and literary references, please contact mohanam@auroville.org.in 

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