One of the main events during Bodu Eid is the boduberu dance, a traditional drum performance that combines singing, drumming, and dancing by men and women in traditional dress to “vibrate the island”, as the locals say. The dance starts off with 15 to 20 people but don’t be surprised if the whole island has joined in by the end.
“In the Maldives, there are so many traditional melodies and rhythms that originate from the Middle East and India. And the boduberu music originally came from the Middle East and India,” says Unoosha. “I have combined these styles in my music to create a fusion between the traditional and the modern.”
Only the finest boduberu drums are used in these performances. They are intricately etched in red, black, and yellow lacquer. Lacquerware arrived in the Maldives through ancient trade routes with China, and it was once made across the archipelago. Today, Thulhaadhoo Island in the Baa Atoll is one of the few places where artisans still practice this ancient art, adding lacquer to hand-carved objects in strips and polishing it using dried coconut palm leaves. As a finishing flourish, patterns are carved from memory into the lacquer to create the signature Maldivian floral motif.