Preserving Local Culture
Landaa Giraavaru’s location in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve constantly provides us with an inspiring moral compass – encouraging us to celebrate and preserve the breadth and depth of our local culture. Two aspects particularly fascinate us: ‘Bodu Beru’ (‘big drum’ music and dancing) and traditional lacquer ware.
Deeply rooted in island life, the rhythmic drumming and frenetic dancing of indigenous ‘Bodu Beru’ music is totally infectious. First organised back in 2011 in conjunction with Male’-based cultural arts institution, Varutha, Four Seasons annual Youth Bodu Beru Challenge is now one of the area’s biggest drumming competitions. In addition to helping to strengthen respect for cultural values, the contest presents local youngsters with an opportunity to contribute to their home island’s own sustainability through prizes geared towards funding community projects.
Seeing hundreds of talented musicians and dancers come together in such a frenzied celebration is a sight to behold – leading to televised coverage of the competition countrywide. We invite the winners to perform at our festive celebrations, while participating groups visit the Resort year-round to showcase their incredible talents.
In a more tranquil approach to cultural appreciation, Maldivian lacquer ware is a wonder to behold. It features bright, intricate designs on native wood-carved objects, such as vases and jewellery boxes. We are proud to be the biggest customer of the Thulahaadhoo lacquer ware artisans – the only remaining lacquer ware craftsmen in the Maldives. You can see their wares displayed around the Resort and for sale in our shop.
Inspired to help preserve this dying technique, we recently set up fully subsidised apprenticeships for two young local islanders – Azim and Ahsan – to learn from the Thulahaadhoo artisans. Both trainees have risen to the occasion, relishing the opportunity to learn the intricate carving, tool-handling, colour-mixing, lacquer application and fine finishing required to become cultural custodians of this prized skill for generations to come.