AIIS AFCP Project : Documentation of Endangered Musical Traditions of Western Rajasthan

“Documentation of Endangered Musical Traditions of Western Rajasthan” is a project undertaken by the AIIS Archive and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology in collaboration with Rupayan Sansthan, supported by the US Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).

The project seeks to revive the endangered ballads and narrative forms, locally called Gatha ad Katha, from the repertoire of hereditary musician communities - the Langa and Manganiar of Western Rajasthan. Gatha are sung narratives and, Katha, are recited and Varta or Bat which involve recitation of verses with storytelling. The themes of these forms include love and romance, acts of bravery, praise of famous kings and warriors.

An essential goal of this project is to empower the community through document their own traditions, for which young musicians from the two communities were trained in audio and video recording. The project also included the oral transmission of this genre through support of mentors and mentees under the “guru-shishya” tradition.

The recordings presented here are recorded by the Project Assistants, accompanied by photographs and documentation created by the project assistants in Devnagari. In addition to Gatha and Katha, there are performances of a few related genres. A short description is provided for each track.

Short samples of the recordings are provided. To access the complete recordings, and further information please contact arce@aiis.org.in.