The orchestral tradition amongst Indian South Africans in Durban between 1935 and 1970.
During the mid-thirties, a tradition of music-making began amongst South Africans of Indian origin that dominated the cultural life of the majority of Indian South Africans for about forty years. This study concerns itself with the ways in which this tradition - the Indian orchestral tradition as it is referred to by its participants was practised amongst Indian South Africans in Durban. The study examines the factors that created and sustained the tradition. Areas that come under focus during the course of the presentation include: the contributions made by individual personalities and institutions to the development of Indian popular music generally, and to orchestras. specifically; the various locations in and around Durban where this type of music-making was most prevalent; and the manner in which environmental factors affected the development of orchestras. The theoretical basis for this research has been drawn from principles in oral history and ethnomusicology. The study locates the orchestral tradition within Eric Hobsbawm's understanding of traditions and of the ways in which they are created and perpetuated. Further, since the presentation involves the extensive use of oral evidence, photographs, posters and related memorabilia, Paul Thompson' s methods of collecting and interpreting such data are used.