Learn to Play > Lesson 2: Your first mrdanga
The Balarama Mrdanga Book style of mrdanga mantras
As ISKCON grew more and more, it became increasingly difficult
to supply the temples with mrdangas. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada
requested Isan dasa to develop a mrdanga in the West that could be easily
reproduced and shipped to temples. Isan then developed what later became known
as the Balarama Mrdanga.
The Balarama Mrdangas are still existing. They are shaped just
like a clay mrdanga, but are made of fiberglass. The heads of the drum
are plastic and are tunable with a small Allan Key (supplied). The straps are
adjustable. They're loud (Prabhupada liked that about them), and almost
indestructable. The first Balarama Mrdangas were very heavy, but as time went by
they began to make them lighter.
Along with the first shipment of Balarama Mrdangas came
included "The Balarama Mrdanga Book" put together by Duryodhana-guru
dasa, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada who was living in Los Angeles. Duryodhana-guru
used an easy to understand system of mrdanga mantras to teach the mrdanga.
Most of the mrdanga mantras in that book were fairly useless in terms of
something you might want to play in the temple, but the system of the mantras
used in the book was quite easy for Westerners to understand.
This Internet mrdanga course uses Duryodana-guru's mantra
system as found in the Balarama Mrdanga Book. However, we do not use any of
the mrdanga beats themselves found in that book. We use the beats
originating from Krsna dasa Babaji taught to me by my mrdanga-guru,
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