Based on extensive research in India and Pakistan, this new study examines the ways drumming and voices interconnect over vast areas of South Asia and considers what it means for instruments to be voice-like and carry textual messages in particular contexts. Richard K. Wolf employs a hybrid, novelistic form of presentation in which the fictional protagonist Muharram Ali, a man obsessed with finding music he believes will dissolve religious and political barriers, interacts with Wolf's field consultants, to communicate ethnographic and historical realities that transcend the local details of any one person's life. The result is a daring narrative that follows Muharram Ali on a journey that explores how the themes of South Asian Muslims and their neighbors coming together, moving apart, and relating to God and spiritual intermediaries resonate across ritual and expressive forms such as drumming and dancing.
Click here to view a free sample of the supplemental video and audio material that accompanies The Voice in the Drum . With purchase of the book comes full access to this Web resource featuring over 75 audio and video examples and performances. Richard K. Wolf is Professor of Music and South Asian Studies at Harvard University and editor of Theorizing the Local: Music, Practice, and Experience in South Asia and Beyond .