For nine months, CCM ethnomusicology professor Stefan Fiol will live in the Garhwal region in northern India to research how the evolution of ancient drumming music can be used to map the culture’s history through space and time.
A Himalayan region located in the state of Uttarakhand, the sparsely populated mountain villages of Garhwal are 8,000-12,000 feet above sea level. Fiol, with his partner and daughter, will be completely immersed in the culture September 2016 – May 2017 as he studies the dialects of Dhol and Damaun drumming.
“My thinking is by looking at the drumming, I’d have a new source to understand history,” Fiol said of his research. “I’m treating it how some linguists treat language to understand dialects and how they change. I’m doing that with drumming and thinking about the regional history through the sounds and rhythms.”
Fiol’s research is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a grant from UC’s Research Council and a fellowship from the Fulbright-Nehru Program. The research titled Dialects of Dhol-Damaun: Drumming as Historiography in the Uttarakhand Himalayas will be featured in a documentary Fiol is producing with former CCM e-media student Jarrod Welling-Cann.