MUSIC, SPACE, IDENTITY: GEOGRAPHIES OF YOUTH CULTURE IN BANGALORE
|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.
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.