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Published on Jan 17, 2010
Here is a folk singer I recorded in May 2005 in the highlands of Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh, India. He sings in a language called Pahari, derived from Sanskrit and Prakrit, with many dialects across the Himalayan belt. This particular dialect was probably Chambiali, since we were near the town of Chamba, though I can't be certain. I speak Hindi, also derived from Sanskrit, so I can make out many words—enough to say that he is addressing his beloved in the first song and his attachment to place in the second—but not enough to translate (any Pahari speakers reading this?). Such are the myriad indigenous musical forms that globalization will probably make extinct in the years ahead.