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Samuel B. Cushman, Ph.D. Candidate Receives Fulbright to Study Kathak Drumming Traditions

Grant title: Fulbright-Nehru Open Study/Research Award (nine months)
Project title: The Rhythms of North Indian Dance: A Study of Drum Accompaniment in Kathak

"This Fulbright project focuses on drumming traditions associated with kathak dance, a North Indian dance form that emphasizes rhythmic movement and storytelling in the context of bhakti (devotional Hindu) themes. In addition to studying kathak repertoires on tabla, the primary drums used to accompany kathak, I will also conduct research on three other drums: the pakhawaj, dhol, and dholak. By studying dance accompaniment on these multiple North Indian drums, I will examine how kathak dance has incorporated aspects of both elite and popular music traditions into its extensive repertoires.

For the first third of my nine-month Fulbright period, I will be based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where I will focus on intensive study of the multiple instrumental techniques associated with kathak accompaniment. I will then relocate to Delhi to use the resources of the American Institute of Indian Studies’ Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology, my sponsoring institution. With Delhi as a base for the remainder of my grant period, I will travel throughout North India working with drummers and dancers at multiple research sites. These sites will include Jaipur, Lucknow, Banaras, and Kolkata in addition to Delhi and Ahmedabad."

March 2020