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Recasting Folk in the HimalayasIndian Music, Media, and Social Mobility$
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Stefan Fiol

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041204

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041204.001.0001

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Professional Female Singers and the Gendering of Folk

Professional Female Singers and the Gendering of Folk

(p.131) 5 Professional Female Singers and the Gendering of Folk
Recasting Folk in the Himalayas

Stefan Fiol

University of Illinois Press

In much scholarly discourse there is an assumption that women are the natural repositories of folk culture. Although this assumption is often rooted in an important feminist motivation to challenge oppressive ideologies within patriarchal societies, this chapter argues that it is ultimately unhelpful to think about folk culture as an inherently male or female domain of cultural production. Chapter five critiques the gendering of the folk concept by comparing and contrasting the experiences of two professional female artists in Uttarakhand, Meena Rana and Bachan Dei. Both women have established their professional identities through interpretations of village-based repertories of song and dance, but each performer has experienced a different degree of acceptance and inclusion within the vernacular music industry as a result of her social position and caste background.

Keywords:   gender, folk culture, women’s music, patriarchy, marriage practices, male migration, Baddi, eroticization, studio recording, voice production

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