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Bangalore's Music Shift from Folk to Western Pop & Rock

The Bangalore nightlife culture. Image credits: Thesugarfactory/littleblackbookImage

uary 2017

Bangalore has long been a popular music centre in India; however, the musical landscape of India has been transformed drastically over the years from the folk culture to the western style – rock & pop.

The city which was one known for its ‘Carnatic’ – an ethnic southern folk music culture is now known for its rock and pop culture.

In an article by Arun Saldanha, “In Music, Space, Identity: Geographies of Youth Culture in Bangalore”, he says “The city has always had an image of openness and progress; while it was called the ‘Garden City’ because of its green boulevards and parks, now it is computers and pubs that are associated with the ‘Silicon Valley of India’.

Post the Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) in 1991 in India, India was inundated by the foreign culture, with several international channels such as Channel [V], MTV and Star TV.

A Bangalore-based band Slain performing. Video Credits: Youtube/Marcusangami

In 1994, the youth moved on from the state-owned broadcasting system of Doordarshan. The people acquired the new cosmopolitan trend in forms of music videos, advertisements, movies and lifestyle fashion.

Anurag, a drummer by profession from a Bangalore based Indo-western band, SSDD – Same Shit Different Day, says the culture revolves around the crowd pulling impact, the society decides the culture that goes around in the city.

Bangalore, once famous for its folk culture of ‘carnatic’ music now demands more of heavy metal gigs, rock concerts and EDM music fests. The ‘carnatic’ music is something which has now shifted from mainstream to contemporary. It is not only the taste of music which has evolved; the western culture has also managed to change our lifestyle – clothing, food and living, added Anurag.

The circulation of Western pop music has further transmitted into the nightlife of Bangalore via pubs, clubs, concerts and music fests. The poshness, the non-Indianness, of pub space is invariably accentuated with Western pop music and TV sets playing MTV or Channel [V], says Arun in his article.

Simran Choudhary, who has recently participated in the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2016, a music-based Indian Reality show, says the folk culture is very diverse in this country. India has its roots in this culture, so the government should take more initiative to help this culture sustain.

However, government shouldn’t be the only one who should take charge for this. Music remains as a part of our soul, so it’s our responsibility to help it endure. Fusions can be a great example for a merger for both the culture. Simran, who is from a folk background, lists folk and classical music as a part of her daily life now.

Simran Choudhary performing a folk Punjabi song for a youth fest. Video Credit: Youtube/Simran Choudhary

However, in a wider platform of the country, this shift is prominently seen in the Bollywood music too. The playback singing of movies, over the period has changed from a classical and folk background to Pop culture filled with raps and EDMs.

But, even with the changing culture and tradition, folk and classical, Indian music still remains a great determination for young singers like Simran.









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