Monday, September 4, 2023

"Music in Colonial Punjab"

New from Oxford University Press: Music in Colonial Punjab: Courtesans, Bards, and Connoisseurs, 1800-1947 by Radha Kapuria.

About the book, from the publisher:

This book offers the first social history of music in undivided Punjab (1800-1947), beginning at the Lahore court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and concluding at the Patiala royal darbar. It unearths new evidence for the centrality of female performers and classical music in a region primarily viewed as a folk music centre, featuring a range of musicians and dancers -from 'mirasis' (bards) and 'kalawants' (elite musicians), to 'kanjris' (subaltern female performers) and 'tawaifs' (courtesans). A central theme is the rise of new musical publics shaped by the anglicized Punjabi middle classes, and British colonialists' response to Punjab's performing communities. The book reveals a diverse connoisseurship for music with insights from history, ethnomusicology, and geography on an activity that still unites a region now divided between India and Pakistan.
--Marshal Zeringue