Phagwah: Parade

ambience: Phagwah music, group singing, drumming w/ cymbals

We’re listening to the sounds of Phagwah — a spring festival with roots in ancient India. This weekend it’s being celebrated in New York. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re in New York City’s borough of Queens, which is home to many people of Indian and Caribbean descent. Every year at this time, they hold a Phagwah parade to welcome spring and celebrate their heritage with traditional music and dancing.

“Over there in that truck you see a group of temple people, religious community and they are playing a pair of hand cymbals and they’re singing in a call and response style and that is the music that is very typical of the Phagwah festival and it’s called chowtal.”

Karna Singh is with the Rakjumari Cultural Center in Queens.

“The drummer is playing a two-headed drum and that drum is called a tolack. Chowtal is played many weeks before the spring festival. It’s played until this day as a pre-spring music.”

“That big drum is the boom drum and that is really called a baydum and the little kettle drum that is playing all those improvisational passages is the tassa drum and these drums are always played at the festival.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Phagwah: Parade

In Queens, a festival takes place at the time of the full moon every March. Participants celebrate with "call and response" style singing, and the playing of indigenous drums and cymbals.
Air Date:03/11/2005
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience: Phagwah music, group singing, drumming w/ cymbals

We're listening to the sounds of Phagwah -- a spring festival with roots in ancient India. This weekend it's being celebrated in New York. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're in New York City's borough of Queens, which is home to many people of Indian and Caribbean descent. Every year at this time, they hold a Phagwah parade to welcome spring and celebrate their heritage with traditional music and dancing.

"Over there in that truck you see a group of temple people, religious community and they are playing a pair of hand cymbals and they're singing in a call and response style and that is the music that is very typical of the Phagwah festival and it's called chowtal."

Karna Singh is with the Rakjumari Cultural Center in Queens.

"The drummer is playing a two-headed drum and that drum is called a tolack. Chowtal is played many weeks before the spring festival. It's played until this day as a pre-spring music."


"That big drum is the boom drum and that is really called a baydum and the little kettle drum that is playing all those improvisational passages is the tassa drum and these drums are always played at the festival."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music