Gaddi Music in the YouTube Era
Regional Identities and Cultural Heritage
Gaddi music videos have millions of YouTube views and Gaddi singers are prominent among Himachal Pradesh’s folk music artists. The Gaddi community is connected in popular imagery to the mountains and known as transhumant agropastoralists who rear sheep and goats. A characteristic of Gaddi singers present online is their activity offline—cultural programs, concerts, and religious rituals. Gaddi vernacular music, online and offline, promotes a version of their cultural identity that is tied to their pastoral heritage. Digitalization has lowered barriers to music production and consumption and, thus, enlarged the possibilities of artistic representations. The YouTube videos produced are highly professional. Their presentations of cultural heritage coincide with a rapid transformation of Gaddi lifestyles in everyday life. The connection between digital Gaddi music and cultural heritage is part of a broader development in productions of regional music in India. In the digital era, regional identities are being reaffirmed, not devalued, by producers and consumers with an increasingly cosmopolitan outlook.
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