About Maher Raas Group
The first Maher Raas Group was formed in early 1950′s, in Porbandar, Gujarat, India.
Since then many other local Maher groups have formed in Indian villages like Chaya, Bhavpara, Visawada, Bokhira, Kuchadi, Jamnager, Junagadh, Porbandar and Leicester (UK).
Maher Raas Groups have perfomed all around the world, in almost every country. Maher Raas is so unique that no other community has been able to perform. Their traditional Sword & Shield dance is incredibly powerfull and inspiring to watch.
Maher Rass Group has performed at all levels from National Independence Day to Weddings and parties.
Maher Community in UK has several raas groups, senior mens, junior boys and also girls raas group.
> Leicester Mens Raas Group
> Leicester Boys Raas Group
> Leicester Girls Raas Group
Leicester Mens Raas Group
Leicester Mens Rass Group was formed in 2001.
Maher Mens Raas Group is made up of 12 players. We perform our Culture Dances (called “Raas”) which Includes Maniyaro Raas, Dhal Talvar Raas, Ashiyad Raas, Gowar Raas & Athingo Raas.
The dance of Maher’s attracts great attention due to their stout spirit and physical appearance and their fighting spirit that is reflected in their dance. The movement of their feet is very fast and takes strong steps, like the soldiers marching in the battlefield. They apply a considerable force when striking the sticks and swords, similar to using swords against the enemy in the battlefield.
Raas of Maher community is very popular and has won many awards for their performances. Maher Raas Group have performed many cities at World Gujarat Conference in New Jersey organized by AIANA in 2006 & 2008.
Maher Raas Group have also performed at many places in including USA & UK – London, Luton, Leicester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Southall, Northampton, Peterborough, Hayes, Essex, Swindon, Loughborough, Oxford, and many more.
Leicester Boys Rass Group
Boys Raas Group has players from 7 – 16 years old. Boys Raas Group have won 1st pize at GHA Raas/Garba Competition in 2009 in adult category & 1st prize in junior category 2010, held every year at DeMontfort Hall, Leicester.
They have also preformed at the house of commons Diwali celebrations &at the NAMC in America.
Maher Chaaya Raas Group
Based in Porbandar, Gujarat-India. This group has been around for over 35 years under the leadership of Ranabhai Sida (pictured above). Chaaya Raas Group have performed events like Independence day celebration in Delhi in front of PM, recently they performed at Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010. Chaaya Group have also been to France, Russia, Japan, UK and Argentina.
Types of Raas
Dhal Talwar Raas
This Raas is performed with Real swords and Shields. Similar Music as above with same musical instruments are played but this time the singer is singing songs about war and how Maher Community solders fought in war and how they claimed victory. Clothes are very similar to the ones mentioned above. When we are performing this Raas it looks very similar to attack and defense in battlefield, again with lots of spinning, jumping etc. (10mins)
This Raas is performed with small sticks known as Dandias, made out of wood about 1.5ft long. Raas is played with music, which includes Dhol (drum), Sarnai (Clarinet), Harmonium, singer singing religious song. This Raas includes various different moves, which includes lots of spinning moves, jumping about 3 feet above ground etc. All 12 players carry all of the moves out simultaneously. The costumes we wear for this Raas is Plain White clothes – Turban, Red Band going across the chest and back, small necklace made out of red & gold plated beads. Only Maher Community men wear these clothes. (10mins)
This Raas is performed with Danidias and a pole in the middle with different colour strings attached to pole. While performing the Raas, each player hold the end of one string and during the performance the all strings will “Plait in Diamond shape” and then un-plait (see attached photo). This Raas will also be performed with handcrafted vibrant colour clothes. (10mins)
Ashiyad Raas & GowarRaas
This Raas is performed with small colored wooden sticks, similar to ones used in “Maniyaro Raas”. With this Raas the music is lot faster using same instruments as mentioned above but have more beats in the music. The clothes are very different to the ones we wear in “Maniyaro Raas & Dhal Talvar Raas”. These clothes have lots of vibrant colors on them and have handcrafted colorful hat and waistcoat. (11mins & 19mins)