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Halloo! When I found out I could go to med school with a Humanities degree with an Ethnomusicology emphasis, I almost peed myself. Here's to me holding it in.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Annotated Source

Arun Saldanha
Nightlife in Bangalore. Notice the conspicuous absence of anything appearing Indian!

Saldanha explores just what the title implies - how youth culture utilizes music to define space and identity in Bangalore. This is particularly interesting because Bangalore is the closest major city to Bylakuppe, and to what degree Bangalori youth culture is reflected in Bylakuppean youth culture will be important to watch. Saldanha studied, specifically, the "rich kids," as he calls them - the wealthy elite that are able to make full use of the globalization found in Bangalore's shopping malls, car dealerships, and record stores. 
An interesting question is asked, and a succinct answer is given - why youth? Because youth are most involved in translating tradition in the face of globalization, and youth are they who must most fully come to terms with the presence of the West. Bangalori youth, as is typical of youth in many places, are most conversant with the technologies that bring other cultures home. MP3s and music videos are consumed in large amounts, and much (perhaps most) of what is being consumed is strictly western. Notable to me as a musician is that hybrid styles, such as bhangramuffin, which is a combination of dancehall reggae (raggamuffin) and Bhangra music, (http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/The+Best+Of+Apache+Indian/4112865), are almost completely ignored by the communities from which part of the hybrid came. 
This stuff is popular all over the world, but not so much in India
Saldanha concludes with three remarks. First, Bangalori youth's consumption of and identification with the Western world's popular culture is geographically contingent - that is, the way Bangalori youth take on the West is a specifically Bangalori way, and produces an entirely new sense of place that may be termed translocal, rather than global or local. Second,  this consumption has a distinctly political dimension - for the youth, Third World India becomes the "other" and the Western world becomes the "inside." Wealthy Bangalori youth, in particular, are able to separate themselves from "locals" through their ability to consume and understand in a greater way the things the West has brought, from expensive jeans to pop music. Third, studying music, space, and identity requires turning to "the actual sites where music attains its meaning," rather than isolating it in purely musicological, political, local, or other spatial paradigms. An integrative approach which considers the contributions of each of these paradigms and searches for other useful realms of thought for analysis will be most effective.


  1. Small FYI, the West doesn't generally acknowledge it, but just like Madras and Bombay changed their names to Chennai and Mumbai, Bangalore actually changed its name to Bengaluru. No one will be offended by you calling it Bangalore, but you might get cultural points or something with local people if you call it Bengaluru instead.

    Also, I will have to give you a list of some of my favorite restaurants in Bangalore for you to visit if you want. (I think it will always be Bangalore in my mind, haha)

  2. Ji ha, shukriya! Mujhko malum nahi tha (is that the right way to past-tense that sentence?..). I think it's fun to watch who uses which name. Meri Hindi teacher almost always uses the old Raj names - she uses Bombay most of the time and all the white kids, wanting to be politically correct, use Mumbai. :)

    I would definitely make use of that restaurant list. No one I'm going with has been to Bangalore/Bengaluru before, so knowing which places won't give me food poisoning would be nice. Hahaha...