Musics of South Asia: A Means for Connecting Communities?


Resource authors: David Clarke

Music and other cultural forms play an important role in the life of many of the UK’s South Asian communities – offering a means for connection, but equally a way of asserting difference or turning inward. Music and other expressive practices may offer more productive ways to understand and articulate experiences of multiculturalism than those voiced in recent political and media rhetoric. Across a range of writings this scoping study explores these possibilities and reviews literature and concepts germane to them. Surveying a range of South Asian cultural activities, arts organisations, community associations and networks in Newcastle upon Tyne and its environs (a region not normally featured in public debates about ethnicity and community) contributes a new perspective to the national picture. Analysis of how young Muslim British Pakistanis in Bradford use rap music to articulate the experience of a ‘post-migrant’ generation offers a corrective to current negative stereotyping of that city. We reveal complexities around characterisations of ethnicity and identity in relation to communities, and highlight issues arising from the current economic recession in a region already marked by economic deprivation.

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