Collections: Shalini Ayyagari - The EVIA Digital Archive Project

Manganiyar Musical Practices From Western Rajasthan, India (2005-2007)

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Hakim Khan Manganiyar in Harawa Village, India, 2006. Image © Shalini Ayyagari.

This collection includes various musical practices of the Manganiyar, a professional hereditary musician community from the Thar Desert region of western Rajasthan, India. The Manganiyar have customarily provided family genealogies and ceremonial music to their hereditary patrons for remuneration in kind for at least the past three centuries. They have been affiliated not only with individual patron families, but entire patron family genealogies over many generations through social and economic co-dependence. The majority of Manganiyars' patrons have customarily been families of the Rajput Hindu warrior clans of western Rajasthan. The settings for their music are lifecycle ceremonies of their patrons—weddings, births, and religious festivals and ceremonies.

The material in this collection is a compilation of ten hours of field recordings from the collector's dissertation fieldwork. The majority of the footage concentrates on depictions of contextual music making. Most of these recordings were in the form of recording sessions made in villages in western Rajasthan, at the homes of the musicians. These recordings are of musicians considered to be renowned musicians in the community who possess large, diverse, and very old musical repertoire. These more customary performances are contrasted in the collection with recordings made of mostly younger Manganiyar musicians performing in festival contexts outside of their villages. These musical performances are interspersed with shots of Jaisalmer city and landscapes of the Thar Desert region where the Manganiyar live.

This collection is currently in production and is not yet available to the public.

Image © Siddarth Puri

Shalini Ayyagari received her PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Berkeley. With a background in social and development work in India, she came to the field of ethnomusicology with the goal of connecting past experiences and knowledges in development work with musical practices through dedication to community-building. Her research focuses on regional music practices in western Rajasthan, India. Her current research, conducted in India from 2005 to 2007, investigates the ways in which Manganiyar hereditary musicians are reinventing intellectual and institutional frameworks around musical culture, while engaging with and negotiating various powers, politics, and cultural subjectivities. This collection represents a portion of video collected during her dissertation fieldwork in India.

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