At Home in the Studio

Shalini Ayyagari

in Popular Music in India

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780199928835
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199369751 | DOI:
At Home in the Studio

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This chapter grapples with the changing interactions with sound as an object among the Manganiyar, a hereditary community of professional musicians in western Rajasthan, India. No longer able to depend on their more customary occupation of performing for their patron families’ lifecycle ceremonies due to issues of modernization, Manganiyar musicians have in recent years turned to cultural tourism to make financial ends meet, an industry that is currently flourishing in Rajasthan. By performing at tourist hotels, desert safaris, and on cultural event stages, Manganiyar musicians have become popular with domestic and foreign audiences alike, and have in recent decades begun to perform abroad. At the same time, as a result of cheaper and more accessible technology, small, inexpensive recording studios have sprung up not only in the larger cities of Rajasthan such as Jaipur and Jodhpur, but also in small towns dotting the rural desert landscape of western Rajasthan. Manganiyar musicians have started taking advantage of this technology and are recording low-budget albums to sell at performances for tourists in Rajasthan, as well as while on tour outside of India. What effect is such technology having on acoustemological perceptions of Manganiyar music, whose sensibility has been so dependent on live improvisation, audience reception, and visual communication? How do Manganiyar musicians interact with recording technology as a built environment different from a live audience? In what ways are Manganiyars thinking differently about their music as an aesthetic object now to be manipulated, amplified, and revamped?

Keywords: Manganiyar; Rajasthan folk music; regional studio; Morchang Studio

Chapter.  7857 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology ; Popular Music

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