The Santals live in the north-eastern part of India in the provinces of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Numbering about four million people, they constitute the second largest tribal community of India. Their belief in "bongas" (nature-spirits) sets them apart from their neighbours, and they have always strictly refrained from mixing with the surrounding population. In spite of economic difficulties, the majority of the Santals still live in their own villages, with agriculture as their main source of livelihood. The Santals have their own and very original conception of sound. They consider their acoustic environment as consisting of three categories: "sade" (produced by striking together different objects), "rak" (which is made up of the calls of animals) and finally "aran" (human sounds) which are again subdivided in "ror" (speech) and "rar" (song). Sounds are always an important indicator of anything going on in or outside the village, a means of ritual and practical orientation in time and space. The recordings were taken in November 1994 as part of a research project devoted to the Santals by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (New Delhi) in some villages in the neighbourhood of Santiniketan (Birbhum District of West Bengal). They contain not only music but also the daily activities of these villages, arranged in the form of a soundwalk through a Santal village, lasting from early morning until night.
Singa and tamak’
Drum beats on tumdak’ and tamak’
Music of World Cultures
World Music – What Is Distant? What Is Near? World Music is a not uncontroversial term for the rich variety of musical culture of our planet, and it comprises not only the musical traditions of the rural parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America but also those of the high cultures of the Indian subcontinent, Japan, and China as well as the popular music of urban metropolises throughout the world today. This edition of CDs, most of which were produced in cooperation with Berlin’s House of the Cultures of the World and the Music Department of Berlin’s Ethnological Museum, mixes up the categories of “foreign” and “familiar” not only by bringing closer things that are unknown and unfamiliar but also by revealing the familiar in the foreign and the foreign in the familiar. The encounter with the varied musical ideas that exist outside of our own culture has made us more aware of our own categories and shown us that we can no longer operate with a single compulsory aesthetic but that we must instead speak of innumerable distinctive aesthetics. This conclusion is supported both by the extraordinary recordings and the high quality of the booklet texts on the WELTMUSIK label.