An Ethnography of a Rock Music Venue in Delhi
Keywords:India, Delhi, popular music, rock music, venue, social class
Local English-language adaptations of western rock are performed in India primarily for consumption by young, western-influenced, and English-speaking middle-class Indians. As Indian rock is predominantly a live rather than a recorded practice, venues are of particular import within the Indian rock scene. However, little formal research upon live Indian popular music has been undertaken. Between September and December 2013, the author undertook research in Delhi investigating live popular music. This article uses an ethnographic approach to investigate and contextualise the music-culture of a music venue, Café 27, within the Indian rock scene in Delhi. The article finds that the venue in question has a two-fold purpose: it provides a space for performance of local adaptations of popular music genres permitting Delhi-ite musicians to earn a living, and it provides a space for the western-influenced middle- and upper-classes to define their identity.
Banerjee, Abhijit, Esther Duflo, Maitreesh Ghatak and Jeanne Lafortune. 2009. Marry for What: Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.3386/w14958
Booth, Gregory D. 2005. “Pandits in the Movies: Contesting the Identity of Hindustani Classical Music and Musicians in the Hindi Popular Cinema”. Asian Music 36/1: 60–86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/amu.2005.0004
—2008. Behind the Curtain: Making Music in Mumbai’s Film Studios. Oxford: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327632.001.0001
—2014. “The Beat Comes to India: The Incorporation of Rock Music into the Indian Soundscape”. In More Than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music, 216–37. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brass, Paul R. 2005. Language, Religion and Politics in North India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dairianathan, Eugene I. 2009. “Vedic Metal and the South Indian Community in Singapore: Problems and Prospects of Identity”. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 10/4: 585–608. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649370903166424
DeNora, Tia. 2000. Music in Everyday Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511489433
Dorin, Stephane. 2012. “Jazz and Race in Colonial India: The Role of Anglo-Indian Musicians in the Diffusion of Jazz in Calcutta”. Jazz Research Journal 4/2: 123–40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/jazz.v4i2.123
Fernandes, Naresh. 2012. Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age. Delhi: Roli Books.
Frith, Simon. 1998. Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Ganguly-Scrase, Ruchira and Timothy J. Scrase. 2008. Globalisation and the Middle Classes in India: The Social and Cultural Impact of Neoliberal Reforms. Abington: Routledge.
Gibson, Chris and John Connell. 2003. Sound Tracks: Popular Music, Identity, and Place. London: Routledge.
Grimmer, Sophie. 2011. “Continuity and Change: The Guru-Shishya Relationship in Karnatic Classical Voice Training”. In Learning, Teaching, and Musical Identity: Voices across Culture, edited by Lucy Green, 91–108. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Kaur, Pawanpreet and Satarupa Paul. 2012. “From Hauz Khas to The Village”. The Sunday Guardian, http://www.sunday-guardian.com/artbeat/from-hauz-khas-to-the-village (accessed 21 April 2014).
Kavoori, Anandam P., Aswin Punathambekar and Natalie Rose Sarrazin. 2008. Global Bollywood. New York: New York University Press.
Kronenburg, Robert. 2013. Live Architecture: Venues, Stages and Arenas for Popular Music. London: Routledge.
Kvetko, Peter. 2004. “Can the Indian Tune Go Global?” Drama Review 48/4: 183–91. http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/1054204042441964
—2006. Indipop: Producing Global Sounds and Local Meanings in Bombay. PhD diss., University of Texas.
—2013. “Mimesis and Authenticity: The Case of ‘thanda thanda pani’ and Questions of Versioning in North Indian Popular Music”. In More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music, edited by Gregrory D. Booth and Bradley Shope, 160–78. New York: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928835.003.0009
Manuel, Peter. 1993. Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
—2012. “Popular Music as Popular Expression in North India and the Bhojpuri Region: From Cassette Culture to VCD Culture”. South Asian Popular Culture 10/3: 223–36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14746689.2012.706012
—2014. “The Regional North Indian Popular Music Industry in 2014: From Cassette Culture to Cyberculture”. Popular Music 33/3: 389–412. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0261143014000592
Meyer, Christian and Nancy Birdsall. 2012. New Estimates of India’s Middle Class. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development.
Murthy, Dhiraj. 2007. “Communicative Flows between the Diaspora and ‘Homeland’: The Case of Asian Electronic Music in Delhi”. Journal of Creative Communications 2/1-2: 143–61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/097325860700200208
Natrajan, Balmurli. 2011. The Culturalization of Caste in India: Identity and Inequality in a Multicultural Age. London: Routledge.
Negus, Keith. 2013. Music Genres and Corporate Cultures. London: Routledge.
Nowak, Florence. 2014. “Challenging Opportunities: When Indian Regional Music Gets Online”. First Monday 19/10. http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/5547 (accessed 8 October 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i10.5547
Only Much Louder. 2013. Who We Are. http://oml.in/who-we-are (accessed 24 November 2013).
Pattanaik, Devdutt. 2013. “India versus Bharat”. Mid-Day. http://www.mid-day.com/articles/india-versus-bharat/246448 (accessed 15 May 2014).
Pinckney, Warren R. 1989. “Jazz in India: Perspectives on Historical Development and Musical Acculturation”. Asian Music 21/1: 35–77. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/834073
Price Waterhouse Coopers. 2014. India Media and Entertainment Outlook 2014. Delhi: Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Rentfrow, Peter J. 2012. “The Role of Music in Everyday Life: Current Directions in the Social Psychology of Music”. Social and Personality Psychology Compass 6/5: 402–16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-9004.2012.00434.x
Roy, Ipshita. 2012. “Metal: A Study in Delhi”. Thesis. Master of Arts, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi.
Saldanha, Arun. 2002. “Music, Space, Identity: Geographies of Youth Culture in Bangalore”. Cultural Studies 16/3: 337–50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09502380210128289
Samrat B, Ritnika Nayan and Simar Puneet, eds. 2010. Hub: Indian Electronica. Delhi: Goethe-Institut.
Sarrazin, Natalie. 2014. “Global Masala: Digital Identities and Aesthetic Trajectories in Post-Liberalised Indian Film Music”. In More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music, edited by Gregory D. Booth and Bradley Shope, 38–59. New York: Oxford University Press.
Tripathy, Ratnakar. 2012. “Music Mania in Small-Town Bihar: Emergence of Vernacular Identities”. Economic & Political Weekly 47/22: 58–66.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.