AbstractThis doctoral study uses Practice as Research (PaR) to explore the history and contemporary relationship between Wales and the Khasi/Jaiñtia Hills. The relationship is the result of missionary activity by the Foreign Mission of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists in the region between 1841 and 1969. This research offers an insight into the effects of the mission on society, by using music and literature to build a creative collaboration between Khasi artists and the researcher, a professional musician from Wales. The study makes an original contribution to existing fields of research by presenting a case study of the use of PaR to conduct intercultural studies in a post-colonial context.
This research uses Diana Taylor’s concept of the ‘the Archive and the Repertoire’ to suggest that creative practice offers a way to research the oral and embodied traditions of society. The importance of orality to Khasi culture is acknowledged and explored through the sharing of music and folk tales. By researching Welsh and Khasi folk music, the research considers the importance of orality and embodied knowledge to the identities of both communities.
The culture of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists is discussed, particularly the influence of hymns on the literature and music of the Welsh mission in northeast India. The Methodists’ relationship with Welsh folk music and the displacement of the Welsh oral tradition by a literate and religious culture is examined. It is suggested that Welsh folk melodies reached the Khasi/Jaiñtia Hills in the form of hymns and through the countless interactions between missionaries and Khasi people throughout the long history of the mission. The characteristics of traditional Khasi culture are described, as well as the effects of missionary
activities on the musical traditions of the region.
The process of learning to play a Khasi instrument, the Duitara, was key to gaining an insight into Khasi culture and folk music in particular, offering inspiration for the practical research. New musical and poetic pieces were co-created in reaction to the cultural dialogue that had taken place between Welsh and Khasi artists. Sound recordings of the creative works produced are presented here and represent half of the doctoral submission.
|Date of Award||May 2020|
|Sponsors||Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol|
|Supervisor||Lisa Lewis (Supervisor), Paul Carr (Supervisor) & Rhiannon Williams (Supervisor)|