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Unrecognized South Asia: An introduction to the Tripuri people

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 25, 2014 11:47am | Post a Comment
India is home to over 1.21 billion people, roughly 18% of entire human population. Indians speak Austroasiatic, Dravidian, Indo-European, and Tibeto-Burman languages (as well as two language isolates) and there are over 2,000 ethnic groups in the vast country. India's considerable diversity, however, tends to be simplified or overlooked in the west, where Hindi language Bollywood cinema becomes metonymic for the entire Indian film industry and North Indian cooking (rather than being subdivided into Awadhi, Bihari, Bhojpuri, Kumauni, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Rajasthani, or Uttarpradeshi) becomes shorthand for the cuisine of an entire subcontinent.


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Tripuri kids

THE TRIPURI

One of the less-widely recognized or discussed ethnic groups in India are the Tripuri (also known as the Tipra or Tipperah). They are believed to have migrated from somewhere in Western China to the Brahmaputra Valley at least 2,000 years ago -- which may sound like a long time ago but is relatively recent in a subcontinent believed to have been first settled by humans at least 70,000 years ago and another hominid species, Homo heidelbergensis, perhaps as many as 800,000 years before them. 

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CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music Present Shujaat Hussain Khan

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 16, 2014 07:18pm | Post a Comment

CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present virtuoso sitar player Shujaat Hussain KhanShujaat Hussain Khan on Friday, May 2nd at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

Shujaat Hussain Khan belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana of the sitar and is the seventh in an unbroken line from a family that has produced many musical masters. He is the son and disciple of the master sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan. His musical pedigree continues back through his grandfather Ustad Inayat Khan, his great-grandfather Ustad Imdad Khan, and his great-great-grandfather Ustad Sahebdad Khan - all leading artists of their generations.

At the age of three, Shujaat began practicing on a specially made small sitar, and by the time he was six the child prodigy started giving public performances. Since then he has performed at all the prestigious music festivals in India and he has traveled around the world performing in Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe.

Shujaat has his own unique style of playing. His approach to rhythm is largely intuitive, fresh and spontaneous, always astonishing his audiences. He was recently a visiting artist at UCLA and currently lives in New Delhi, touring throughout India, the United States, and Europe each year. 

Get your tickets HERE!

You're My Love Song in the Flowers - Little India for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 20, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment
LITTLE INDIA

Little India Plaza

Little India is a small neighborhood within Artesia centered on Pioneer Blvd. However, since the population of Artesia surrounding Little India is more Mexican, Filipino and Chinese (not to mention home to smaller but significant number of Koreans and Vietnamese), the city council and mayor rather lamely compromised, officially designating it the "International and Cultural Shopping District." Catchy, huh? That silliness suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what a designated ethnic enclave is... that is, a community that retains a cultural distinction from the larger community. Oh well, everyone knows it as Little India, whether it's official or not.

EARLY ARTESIA - DAIRYLAND

Artesia, named after the area's artesian wells, was primarily developed in the 1920s and '30s by mostly Portuguese and Dutch dairy farmers. Later came Dutch-colonized Indonesians. The character of Southeast Los Angeles became increasingly suburban after World War II and most of the homes in the immediate area date from the mid 1940s to the early '50s.

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Charanjit Singh- 10 Ragas to a Disco Beat Reviewed by Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 14, 2010 12:55am | Post a Comment
Charanjit Singh
There has been much talk about 10 Ragas to a Disco Beat! People have been debating whether Charanjit Singh’s 1982 release predated Acid House or was influenced by it. There was also talk that perhaps it was a modern group posing as “obscure” Indian artist. (Aphex Twin was rumored to be behind this.) The worst thing I read was from a guy who couldn’t possibly understand how someone from India could possibly could get all those synthesizers and drum machines that he used to create this album. I can answer that: It was simple, he was a successful musician and he bought them…and yes, India has electricity, too!

These are the same arguments the imperialist mindset tends to have about indigenous people -- for instance, the argument that intelligent beings from another planet must have created the pyramids because indigenous people couldn’t possibly done it on their own. The truth is that Indian musicians have always been some of the best musicians and most complex composers. They deal with time signatures, scales and overall talent that the Western world cannot comprehend, so the fact that 10 Ragas To A Disco Beat predates some important firsts in the electronic music world does not surprise me one bit.
Charanjit Singh
Much of what appears on this album are Indian Ragas set to Giorgio Moroder inspired arpeggiated synth lines with the same primitive drum programming that was the norm at the time. Again, one can argue that India’s pop world was behind the West, but perhaps because the Western world is so quick to abandon any musical movement for the next big thing. The disco sounds of Moroder might have exploded on a baseball field in Detroit back in 1979, but to the rest of the world his importance was still being felt. Even Brits such as Duran Duran and The Human League, who in 1981 were considered cutting edge, were still worshiping at the altar of Moroder.

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Obscure and Unrecognized South Asia & Indian Ocean

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 30, 2010 11:30am | Post a Comment
South Asia

South Asia
is the most populous and densely populated region in the planet's most populous continent. Not surprisingly, therefore, it's home to many culturally rich nationalities who still struggle in the post-Colonial world for recognition, equality and self-determination.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, Eastern Europe and North Asia.)

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Flag of Assamese Seperatists 
Assam

Assamese Dancers
Assamese dancers (photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

The earliest known settlers in Assam are believed to be the Khasi and Synteng people of southeast Asia. The were later marginalized by the arrival of the Tibeto-Burman language speaking Monpas, Sherdukpens, Bhutan, Mishings, Deuris and Bodo-Kachari. The last major wave of immigrants seems to have been the Hindus around 500 BCE, although small numbers of many other groups have arrived since. As such, Assam today is a highly hybridized place that nonetheless is struggling for autonomy.

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