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Music plays an important role in the life and culture of most people in the North East. “Music is in their blood”, it is often said metaphorically. Most of the tribes of the region have a rich oral tradition and music is one way through which knowledge and folktales are transmitted through generations.
Songs and dances are often inspired by the natural environment, the annual agricultural cycle, or by historical events like war and conflicts of the past, the founding of the village, or waves of migration.
Some songs and dance forms have become famous across the country like the Manipuri Dance. This dance is called Pung or Manipuri Mridanga and represents the soul of classical Manipuri dance. The dance and music assume an important ritual character, and is an indispensable part of all social and devotional ceremonies among the Meithei community of Manipur. In this style, the dancers play the pung, which is a hand beaten drum, while they dance around acrobatically at the same time.