New Delhi, India
By Mansi Thapliyal
Music bands play an integral part to the big fat Indian wedding, especially in North India.
Weddings in North India are never complete until the family of the bride and groom dance to the tune of popular Bollywood songs. Brass bands are hired for the purpose of playing at the wedding procession in which the groom’s family dance all the way to the wedding venue where the bride’s family waits to receive them. A procession called “Barat” is usually accompanied by bright lights, fireworks, loud music and dance. The instruments played by these brass bands are a mix of Indian and western musical instruments.
The men who make up India’s brass bands are regularly seen marching through the cities and towns dressed in their flashy outfits and spicing up parties, though despite their loud presence, they usually go unnoticed.
I wanted to take a closer look and find out more about them, find out what they do when they’re not entertaining wedding guests and find out about their day-to-day struggles.
The routine of brass band members consists of leaving their shops around late afternoon. Once they reach the venue from where the wedding procession has to start, they often wait hours for the groom’s family to gather. One of the band members told me that earlier the hours used to stretch ahead endlessly but thanks to mobile phones and internet technology things are different for them now. They use their mobile phones to kill the boredom – huddling together to watch a film on the handset’s small screen, listen to songs or talk to their girlfriends.