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Centre for South Asian Studies: Events


Swingin' Calcutta

Swingin' Calcutta: The role of Anglo-Indian musicians in the diffusion of jazz in colonial and postcolonial India
Speaker: Stephane Dorin # University Paris
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Date and Time
29th Nov 2012 16:00 - 29th Nov 2012 17:30
Seminar Room 2, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square
Musical forms such as ragtime and jazz were played in Calcutta’s hotels and clubs, important institutions in elites’ social life in colonial India. The musicians could be European or American, when a foreign band was hired for a season. Some of these formations tended to include Anglo-Indian members. Anglo-Indian musicians acted as go-betweens, passing down the theoretical knowledge of western harmony as well as the practice of western instruments to the generations of post-Independence India. Moreover, they were the first Indian musicians to perform jazz and blues standards in Calcutta or Bombay, around World War II. Thus, they played a major role in the diffusion of jazz and blues music in India.