Network Exchanges

Brendan S. Gillon CXBG at MUSICA.MCGILL.CA
Fri Jan 29 09:19:07 EST 1993


First, let me say that I appreciate Chris Woodruff's advice.
In particular, I believe with him that it is a good idea
to avoid personal comments and "heat of the moment" replies.
I myself was tempted to send off such a reply to the last
set of exchanges, but I was too busy to find the time, and
as a result ended up pondering the issue a little more
deeply.

I believe that the Indology network serves us well. It
provides a good medium for the exchange of intellectually
trivial but perhaps practically important matters, such
as locating people and getting information about how to
solve some electronic problem of an essentially type-setting
nature.

What I do find disappointing is that this seems to be
about the limit of such a form of exchange. I guess that
about 99 per cent of what gets exchanged on this network
is of a metalinguistic nature, and the remainder actually
is part of the subject matter purported to be covered.
I welcome any discussion of substantive problems concerning
the study of India.

I suggest, however, that longer items be prefaced with an
abstract of the content.

Brendan S. Gillon                    Department of Linguistics
                                     1001 Sherbrooke Street West
Tel:   514 398 4868                  McGill University
Fax:   514 398 7088                  Montreal, Quebec
email: cxbg at musica.mcgill.ca         H3A 2T6   CANADA


> From Lynn.E.Noel at Dartmouth.EDU 29 93 Jan EST 10:41:21
Date: 29 Jan 93 10:41:21 EST
From: Lynn.E.Noel at Dartmouth.EDU (Lynn E Noel)
Subject: Songs of the Subontinent?

Please respond to the following question directly (lynn.e.noel at dartmouth.edu)
and not to the Net; I will post a summary if requested. Thanks!

*********************************

At a recent morris party, we got on a roll of "exotic-destination" songs --
Away Rio, Bound for South Australia, Old Maui, &c &c. This led naturally to
"colonies" songs: Black Velvet Band, CaneCutters' Lament, Scarborough
Settler's Lament, Queensland Drovers, &c &c. Our host's mother, an East Asian
scholar of some repute, wondered why there were so few songs in the British
Isles tradition from British India -- after twenty of us had been unable to
come up with a single example.  Australians, Canadians, even us Yanks have
our collections of Anglo-Celtic lore and songs written in the British Isles
tradition; and the rich cross-pollination of Africa, South America and Europe
have given us North Americans plenty of gospel, Latin, calypso and reggae in
our "traditional" harmony singing.

Where is India? As a geographer, singer and collector, this intrigues me. Was
the work so different that the work songs didn't travel, or didn't get
written? (Sheep don't do well in the jungle, we understand.) Where are the
songs of the tea plantations, or of the soldiers marching to war during the
Raj? Was the conflict, culltural or political, so distasteful that the folk
history has been suppressed? Was the music so different that there was no
cross-cultural balladry or harmony? Were the forms too foreign to adapt? Or
am I missing something? India was Britain's largest colonial territory for a
long time. There is white space on my musical and mental map.

Can anyone give examples of any of the following? We are particularly
interested in songs that have survived, or been revived, in the oral
tradition. "Mirrors" of any of these genres in Asian languages would be most
interesting as well!

*  songs written in English in India during the British Raj
* work songs of British workers in India, or of workers in colonial
activities 
* songs that mention India as a destination or an origin, or contain Indian
placenames
* modern songs that deal with colonial society in British India
* songs in the Indian tradition(s) that touch on the colonial period

If there are empty categories, why? RSVP to end our bafflement! Thanks.

Lynn Noel




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