Moondil Jahan is an emerging rhythmaculture practitioner, with keen interests in conservation—whether endangered species in the realm of ecology or disappearing traditions in terms of indigenous drumming and folk/ritual dance. Rhythmaculture is a term coined by Arthur Hull denoting the amalgamation of traditional/folk/indigenous music and dance into every aspect of life. As she progressed toward earning a BA degree in Field Biology in a Liberal Arts curriculum, Moondil realized that often times the biodiversity hotspots are also rhythmaculture hotspots, making these regions both unique and vulnerable. After she graduated, she embarked on a journey to better understand these regions with the aid of Thomas J. Watson Foundation.
As she encountered Guinean, Ghanaian, Indian, Moroccan, and Tibetan rhythmaculture, Moondil recognized the healing powers of indigenous drumming and folk dance, both in terms of healing the nature and living beings.
Since completing her fellowship, Moon remained inspired to continue her research and collaboration with the Aseemkala Initiative. S
Moondil is a graduate student researching on the Himalayan Buddhist ritual dances in the Newar and Tibetan traditions of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. She holds a M.A. degree in Buddhist Studies from Kathmandu University (Nepal) and will begin her Ph.D. studies at the same school in Fall 2022. In addition to her academic research, she is also training herself in these ancient and sacred dance traditions. She served as a CORE research fellow and is a Board Member of the Aseemkala Initiative.
What is the relationship between traditional practices and medicine?
“On my Watson, I observed and experienced both individual and collective emotional catharses through indigenous drumming and folk dance across cultural, religious, linguistic, and geographical borders. I particularly became interested in the Himalayan region, since it is a biodiversity and a rhythmaculture hotspot. As I delved deeper into the root cause of imbalance, I became aware of the role of emotional catharsis and how it is expressed through ritual performances with drumming and dance.”
How do you believe research in traditional arts and traditional health practices can improve medical care?
“My quest to find the use of the earliest form of drums (frame drums) took me to Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries in North India and Nepal to observe their ritual music and dance, aiding to remove the root cause of suffering. By focusing on two of the earliest forms of traditional arts, i.e., drumming and dance, I observed how we initiate and facilitate both individual and collective healing.”