Music from Liquor

Culture, India

Yesterday Chhara playwright and documentary filmmaker Dakxin Chhara posted a short musical documentary to YouTube which shows an original composition by the children of Budhan Theatre. What isn’t revealed until the end of the film is that the musical instruments they are playing are entirely composed of utensils used to brew liquor. Brewing liquor is illegal in the dry state of Gujarat, but it is one of the main sources of income for the Chhara, who are excluded from other forms of employment by deep seated racism.

This summer we are heading back to Chharanagar for the fourth time. We always look forward to our trips, but this one is special. It will be the tenth anniversary of Budhan Theatre, and we will be there for the celebrations. We also plan to show a rough cut of our film to the community for their feedback. But one of the main purposes of our film is to record some music for our soundtrack. We will be joined by the multi-talented musician John Plenge.

There are three kinds of music we wish to record: folk songs still remembered by the older generation, popular songs sung by some of the community’s professional musicians, and music by the members of Budhan Theatre, like what you see in Dakxin’s music video.

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