Music And Literacy Education At Colby College

1399 Words Oct 22nd, 2016 6 Pages
Having the Merasi, master musicians of Rajasthan, perform live at Colby College provided students and faculty with a cultural experience unlike any that I have attended. The Merasi, from the Thar Desert in Pakistan, have found great success through their music despite their status in the caste system. As a family group, they have been able to gain the international attention that they needed to establish both music and literacy education for their people back home. Although very few people in our audience could understand their lyrics, the emotion and physical movements of the musicians were effective in conveying the overall themes of their songs. From watching this live performance of Rajasthani music, I was able to observe how the music itself, the behaviour of the musicians and audience, and the function of the music interacted to transport a small part of Rajasthan to the Pugh Center giving the audience a glimpse into its culture.
Due to their status in the Indian caste system, the traditional music played by the Merasi is conceived as a way to please their patron family, a way to share their history, and a way to escape the required social conformity. The eleven pieces performed by the group varied in theme, but all centered around their historical and ancestral experience in different spaces. The first few songs focusing on praising their beloved Pakistan; the next allowed them to speak to spaces where they are unwelcomed; and the final song celebrated the communal…
Open Document