What are the sounds of Bollywood music? What are the various influences that shaped and continue shape Bollywood music?
If you delve deep into the subject of Bollywood music as Prof. Jayson Beaster- Jones has done, you will discover all sorts of musical influence from jazz, big band to gypsy music and hip-hop. American music has influenced Hindi or Bollywood music going back to the early day – think 1940s. You can hear traces of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and other big band music in the early Hindi film music. Beaster-Jones illustrates the American influence through Dorsey’s “Song of India” that was originally composed by Russian Rimsky-Korsakov‘s made famous by Dorsey and traveled to Bombay and made it to a Hindi film track.
If you fast forward to the 21st century you will discover hip-hop and rock music and the neo-swing music of Mikey McCleary, a New Zealander, who is remixing and re-imaginging those old vintage and retro Hindi film songs in new ways.
We spoke with Beaster-Jones on the various global influences that go into the making of Bollywood music and look at the American influence on Indian cinema. It comes as quite a bit of surprise to folks when you mention how strong American music influenced Hindi or Bollywood film music.
Beaster-Jones is an ethnomusicologist and teaches at University of California, Merced. He has written researched and written on the subject of Indian film music. His first book is “Bollywood Sounds: The Cosmopolitan Mediations of Hindi Film Song” and he is writing a second one called “Music as Merchandise: Music Commodities, Markets, and Values in India.”
LISTEN: Bollywood Sounds & American Influence with Jayson Beaster-Jones
Prof. Greg Boothis a teacher, author & musician. In his book Brass Baja: Stories From The World of Indian Wedding Bands he takes us behind the scene into the world of the Indian brass band musicians, whose rich musical traditions and history has been largely ignored. It was way back back in the 17th century that the first wedding brass band made their appearance in India. Today, Indian wedding brass bands are an integral part of Indian popular culture and cinema. Most of all they are a big part of Indian wedding celebrations.
We spoke to Prof Booth about the evolution of Indian wedding brass bands and the introdution of western musical instruments into Indian music. For instance, the clarinet and violin were introduced from the west into traditional Indian classical music. And, the harmonium, which is such a large part of Indian music was introduced to India by European missionaries points out Prof. Booth.
LISTEN: Prof. Greg Booth on Indian Wedding Brass Bands
This is part one of a 3-part interivew on Indian Wedding Brass Bands, Indian film music and Bollywood. In part 2 and 3 Prof. Booth talks about the influence of western music into Bollywood and takes us behind the curtain into the world of Bollywood musicians.
Song Credit: Sheila Ki Jawani by Sunidhi Chauhan and Vishal Dadlani from Tees Maar Khan