Mujthaba - 03 Mar 2022

Traditional Boduberu in the Maldives

Traditional Boduberu in the Maldives Image

One of the exciting things to do while visiting places around the globe is aside from going into adventure of the different tourism spots, you get to be able to know the culture and tradition of that particular place. 

And sometimes, you’ll be fascinated with that this village has to offer.  There are different ways to appreciate the beauty of the culture of that place, may it be through the museums or historical places you get to see, the language the people speak, food they prepare, how they dress or through arts like dancing. 

Dancing, is a way to express someone’s emotion and ideas when words are insufficient. It is also an art and a form of ritual in some places. 

In Maldives, the Boduberu which means “big drums” is the famous form of dancing, it is deep-rooted to the Maldivian culture. This performance is popular entertainment to the tourists. It is performed in almost all occasion in Maldives, be it as a performance to a wedding, presentation or even the grand festivals like the Eid festivities, a traditional celebration when fishermen make a good fishing harvest -- this form of art is truly one of a kind. 

Boduberu is performed of at least 15 to twenty (20) artists, usually men in barefoot who wear the traditional white shirts and sarong. It is accompanied by musical instruments, one of commonly-used is the “onugandu”, a piece of instrument made of bamboo, two-sided drums which in the past was made of manta ray skin but in present times, the head is crafted with goatskin, and some are with bells and other musical tool coming together producing hypnotic beats and sound. It starts with a slow music then continue the rhythm and eventually becomes frantic until it reached the crescendo then suddenly ends. 

Aside from those holding the drums there is also a lead singer/s and dancers that sway along with the beat as it tells a story through dancing. 

The enthusiastic dance is sometimes influenced by romance, satire or even patriotism or heroism.  Sometimes the song has meaningless lyrics however the overall impact of it makes the audience get hooked with it and when it abruptly stops, you’ll get asking for more of the show. 

Boduberu is believed to be introduced to the Maldivians as early as the 11th century by the African migrants and was passed through generations preserving the island’s rich culture.

 As time went by, this country music became common for all in the archipelago from being a tribal dance a long time ago. It evolved over the times and for recent years, songs with meaningful lyrics using the Dhivehi language have been incorporated to the beats and rhythm.

As you visit Maldives, you’ll get to experience vibrant beat of Bodu beru that lure your feet to go along with the music. It is fascinating to witness the show in an open space with the white beach of the island.

If you want to witness this kind of performance, you can contact the Maldives Exclusive for your vacation and you’ll be guided on where and how you will best enjoy the show.