CHRISTIAN JAMES '14
JAGORI GRAMEEN '14-'16
Christian James – not to be mistaken with Christina James – graduated in 2014 as a Composition major with an ethnomusicology minor in the Conservatory. He has a robust interest in Indian music and culture that he pursued throughout his career at Oberlin through the study of Hindustani vocal music and Bhakti Yoga. Christian’s interest in music and culture are reflected in his eclectic pursuits: he was the guest accompanist for the choir at Lorain County’s Rust United Methodist Church, spent January of 2012 in Ireland exploring the intersections of Irish Protestant Identity and traditional Irish music, and in June 2013 collaborated with a choreographer to create a performance addressing the effects of domestic violence on mental health at the Charlotte New Music Festival. He was excited to find ways in which he can effectively apply his skills as a musician to just causes at Jagori Grameen, and impressed Jagori Grameen staff with his Hindi fluency. He also learned the local dialect Gaddi, and he began to understand Pahāṛi, another local dialect. Languages led to learning local folk music, ranging from Gaddi devotional songs to Pahāṛi love songs, Hindi film songs, and many varieties of bhajan (participatory devotional songs). Christian found inspiration in the way this music connects with sustainable values and ideas of harmony with nature, but he worries about the future as local languages and cultures become less relevant to the younger generation in the region.