Brass Baja: Stories from the World of Indian Wedding Bands [OIP]

ISBN : 9780199474905

Gregory Booth
344 Pages
136 x 216 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
Oxford India Paperbacks
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Anyone who has seen a wedding procession in northern India would have heard and seen the band of professional musicians accompanying the procession. Surrounded by bright lamps and dressed in uniforms reminiscent of military finery, these are the men who herald the arrival of the groom. In spite of the singing, dancing, and the ornately clad gathering of family and friends in the procession, it is the band that is often its most noticeable element. This book is a detailed and colourful study of India's wedding bands. It argues that while music performed by the wedding bands helps generate emotions of ecstasy and joy, the bandsmen who play it are in the fringes of the social events they herald. Musically and socially, and by birth and profession, bandsmen at weddings are ascribed low social status. Booth's analysis of bands and bandsmen is rich in symbolism and facts surrounding South Asia's complex and diverse musical history. He explains the band trade as a syncretic component of popular culture constructed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in both colonial and independent India. This book tells stories of change witnessed in Indian wedding processions and bands over time. The relationship of musical traditions to the colonial past and India's culture, as also the metaphorical association between musical and cultural changes are also explored.



PART ONE: Contemporary and Historical Ethnographies of a Processional Music Trade
1. Identity, Caste, and Family
2. Maliks and Bandsmen: Social and Professional Hierarchies
3. Careers, Space, Location, and Movement

PART TWO: Sounds, Sights, Practice, and Performance
4. Ensembles and Fashion: The Flow and Change of Meaning
5. The Practice of Processions and Processional Music
6. The Wedding Band Repertoire
7. Practices of Transmission and Performance

Appendix-Musical Transcriptions

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