Ocean Sound in Nepal
Ocean Sound is an octagonal structure similar to that of the Indian daffali. It is primarily made with goat-skin wound tightly on to a wooden frame so the skin sheath creates the sound when you strike it. It is decorated with the paintings of various gods and deities to boost its aesthetic and heritage. However, it is not only for admiration of the artwork or to be used as a musical instrument, there is more to it than what covers the eyes. The small iron pellets in the hundreds in between the goat-skin and the wooden frame is what makes it different from Daffali. These small elements are what completes the goal of the instrument and give it its name Ocean Sound as the iron pellets strike one another and create the wonderful illusion of hearing the sounds of the ocean when you hold the instrument in your and tilt it slowly from side to side.
Although the exact date and origin of this instrument are not certain, the owner of Saroj Instrument Shop, Saroj Kulu tells that the making of the instrument goes back to some forty years. The shop has been selling it for fifteen years now. According to one of the most prevalent legend, it is said that the instrument was inspired by a German Harp Maker Elna Marie who was a frequent traveler and a musician. During one of her visits to Nepal, some twenty years age, she met a craftsman named Hari who had modest skills in making instruments and during their conversation, she shared her design which later was made into Ocean Sound. She did not know when or where they were made but she knew how to build it and she shared her knowledge with him. Hari started making and selling it and it was very popular as well.
These are sent to monasteries as well as the top part is adorned with Buddhist art and they also have the Hindu and Buddhist relics and symbols painted on them. Few years back, the sales in Europe and America were very high and also the German buyers were exceeding. These were so popular that these were being made available in America in oval shapes and with a transparent fiber-skin. However, it could not last long and the ups and downs of the market slowly started affecting its sales.
It was an idea that was refined and perfected here and although it was only a fleeting thought in a foreigner’s mind, the way it was refined here makes it our own. The fact that it was refined and created here makes Ocean Sound one of the most unique mementos that one could give to someone new to Nepal’s culture and heritage.