East Indian Music

June 7, 2000|
East Indian Music by Peter Manuel
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Trinidadian sitarist, composer, and music authority Mangal Patasar once remarked about tan-singing",You take a capsule from India, leave it here for a hundred years, and this is what you get". Patasar was referring to what may be the most sophisticated and distinctive art form cultivated among the one and a half million East Indians whose ancestors migrated as indentured laborers from colonial India to the West Indies between 1845 and 1917. Known in Trinidad and Guyana as "tan-singing" or "local-classical music" and in Suriname as "baithak gana" ("sitting music"), tan-singing has evolved into a unique idiom, embodying the rich poetic and musical heritage brought from India as modified by a diaspora group largely cut off from its ancestral homeland.

In recent decades, however, tan-singing has been declining, regarded as quaint and crude by younger generations raised on MTV, Hindi film music, and disco. At the same time, Indo-Caribbeans have been participating in their countries' economic, political, and cultural lives to a far greater extent than previously. Accompanying this participation has been a lively cultural revival, encompassing both an enhanced assertion of Indianness and a spirit of innovative syncretism. One of the most well-known products of this process is chutney, a dynamic music and dance phenomenon that is simultaneously a folk revival and a pop hybrid. In Trinidad, it has also been the vehicle for a controversial form of female empowerment and an agent of a new, more inclusive, conception of national identity.

Thus, East Indian Music in the West Indies is a portrait of a diaspora community in motion. It documents the social and cultural development of a people"without history", a people who have sometimes been dismissed as foreigners who merely perpe

Title:East Indian Music
Product dimensions:252 pages, 10 X 7 X 0.7 in
Shipping dimensions:252 pages, 10 X 7 X 0.7 in
Published:June 7, 2000
Publisher:Temple University Press
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9781566397629

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