Ethnomusicology Forum

Spring 2020

Wednesday, April 8, 2020 | 3:30-4:45 pm | Live stream only (not open to the public)
Becoming a musician in North India has traditionally entailed committing oneself to a formal relationship with a master, ustad, in order to ensure strict maintenance of aesthetic values. Among the drummers (dholis) of the Punjab region, however, an idiosyncratic version of this “master and disciple” system functions more to protect the economic survival of the drummers through limiting who may join their profession. It also maintains cultural values including ideas of what it means to be a (good) drummer. In recent years, Punjabi drummers have been pursuing new means of economic insurance, which contradict the authority of ustads. As some drummers of the younger generation thrive in this new economic environment, will the greater community of drummers and their cultural identity survive?