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Once essential at weddings, India's colorful brass bands struggle amid changing tastes

The wedding season is in full swing in India, marking what should be the busiest time of year for the traditional brass bands that lead raucous processions announcing the arrival of the bridegroom to the neighborhood.

Dressed in faded military-style uniforms or long silken tunics and turbans, brass bands playing the latest Bollywood tunes have long been a must-have at any Indian wedding.

But as the tastes of young, wealthier Indians shift to more modern music, young couples increasingly choose DJs playing electronic music instead of live bands. The shift is leaving band owners and musicians struggling to find gigs, exacerbating an already difficult existence.

Poor wages, irregular work hours and endless travel eventually take their toll, said Shanawaz Ali, a bandmaster who plays several instruments.

"At the end of more than 35 years of playing in different bands, I have no savings. Nothing," said Ali, who has urged his children to take up other trades. "There is no future in the band musician's profession."

Away from the bright lights of the wedding procession, it's a tough life for the musicians, with lots of travel, long hours and inconsistent pay.

Most members of the nearly 100 wedding bands that operate in and around Delhi come from villages in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state, and many are related by blood or marriage.

In this Nov. 7, 2014, photo, musical interments along with personal belongings of members of Master Band hang are hanged on the wall of their barrack, in New Delhi, India. The wedding season is in full swing in India, marking what should be the busiest time of year for the...
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Hindu weddings in India generally take place on around 90 days throughout the year — mostly during the winter months — that are deemed auspicious by astrologers. Musicians typically sign contracts with band owners for about $1,000 a year. The rest of the time they return to their villages where they eke out a living as construction workers, painters or farm laborers.

A typical day during the wedding season begins in the afternoon, when 15-20 musicians gather at the band owner's place and change into uniforms and collect instruments — trumpets, drums, saxophones, cymbals, clarinets, oboes and maracas — that are usually battered from long years of use.

Then begins a long evening stretching into the late hours as they travel by bus or train to the groom's home, where they wait for him to emerge.

When he does, usually astride a white stallion, the band begins to play, marching ahead of the horse as the groom's friends and relatives dance all the way to the wedding venue. Once the procession reaches the bride's home or the hotel where the wedding is held, the band musicians wait outside, playing cards or watching movies on their cellphones.

They play again when the wedding ceremonies end hours later and the newlyweds leave.

"Often it is past midnight when we return to our lodgings and return the uniforms, before turning in for the night," said Ali, the band master.

During wedding season, most band players sleep in cramped quarters in the distant suburbs of Delhi, with more than a dozen packed into a room, their instruments and clothes hanging from hooks on the grimy walls.

"We are all related, so we've learned to adjust, but sometimes it becomes a bit too much," said Raees Ahmed, coughing and drawing on a thin cigarette.

Ahmed, a trumpet player, said despite the poor pay he continued with the band because the annual contract money was the single largest amount he would earn in the year.

The owners of the bands also feel the pinch as their margins shrink.

Sanjay Sharma, the current owner of the Master Band troupe, recalled days from his childhood when his father started the band company.

"Weddings were small, family affairs, where all the music was provided by the band," he said. "Today, the wedding ceremonies are spread over days and except for the part when the groom arrives, young people want to dance to the latest pop and electro music provided by DJs."

Some band owners have tried hiring DJs, but said they couldn't adjust to the music or afford the electronic equipment required.

"It's different music, a different pace," says Sharma. "I can't relate to it."

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07:43 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Fort Lauderdale plans same-sex wedding for at least 100 couples beachside

With same-sex marriages expected to be legal in Florida as soon as Jan. 6, the Fort Lauderdale area's tourism bureau is planning a massive gay-wedding celebration on the beach.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau plans to invite at least 100 couples from around the country and around the world to marry oceanside in a common ceremony sometime this winter, said Nicki Grossman, president of the Broward Countytourism group in an interview Wednesday.

The 100 number also will honor Broward's 100thbirthday celebration now underway.

"We're going to pull out all the stops, just like a proud father does when their child marries," said Grossman, calling gay travelers "a very loyal and important part of our destination."

The wedding extravaganza is just the first of many gay-marriage activities planned in Broward, a pioneer in promoting gay tourism. In the early 1990s, the county's convention and visitors bureau was among the first in the nation to market specifically to gay travelers. More recently, it became the first to designate an employee solely to work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

That outreach has helped the Fort Lauderdale resort area consistently rank among the top U.S. destinations for LGBT travelers in recent years, according to Community Marketing, which studies gay travel market.

In 2013, more than 1.3 million LGBT travelers visited Broward and spent about $1.5 billion, accounting for about 10 percent of tourism in the county, Grossman said. And that counts only those who came on LGBT tours, attended gay events, responded to gay ads or in some way, self-identified as LGBT.

Major transgender conference headed to South Florida
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"We believe that there are considerably more LGBT travelers than that" in Broward, Grossman said.

Hotels have been cashing in from the county's LGBT push and now stand to gain from its same-sex marriage initiatives too.

Among potential beneficiaries: the 261-room Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach, which has served for the past two years as a host hotel for the annual Beach Bear weekend that targets gay men.

"Fort Lauderdale already is major gay destination," said Bill Cunningham, general manager for the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach, welcoming Wednesday's news of the proposed gay-marriage promotions. "I think it's the right thing to do, and I think it's a plus for Fort Lauderdale."

Just when same-sex marriages can begin in the Sunshine State remains unclear.

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a federal judge's order upholding a ban on same-sex marriage in one Florida county to lapse on Jan. 5. Yet state officials contend same-sex marriage remains illegal because voters rejected it in a 2008 ballot initiative.

Advocates for same-sex marriage say it's obvious that Florida will recognize LGBT marriage equality soon, as 35 states already have. The big question is how long the legal maneuvering will take.

As legalities are worked out, Broward is getting a head-start on its same-sex wedding promotions.

"Love is love," said Grossman, who publicly endorsed same-sex marriage months back. "We'd like to see married couples [from the massive beach ceremony] be able to celebrate Valentine's Day together."

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Expert advice from Hamilton’s premier wedding gown tailor

Olinda’s Fashion Studio is your local tailor and wedding dress alternations expert in Hamilton, Ontario. Providing service for re-styling old clothes and custom tailoring, Olinda’s also specializes in wedding dress alterations and re-designs, customizing one-of-a-kind wedding gowns that fit beautifully.

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When it comes to choosing a tailor or dressmaker for your wedding gown, you want to ensure that you’re working with a seasoned professional. After all, this is going to be one of the most important days of your life. One sure way that you are working with a pro is when they provide you with honesty. The difference between a so-so tailor from an exceptional tailor is that the exceptional one will be able to tell you how the garment can be altered to truly complement your figure. They will also provide you with honesty for heirloom gowns, letting you know if the condition of the dress is good enough to be re-structured.

Quality wedding dress tailors will also be able to add special touches that will make your gown truly yours. If it’s a strapless, then the tailor will know how to add sleeves or a shrug if added modesty is desired. Alternatively, if you have purchased a dress from a boutique but want some changes or additions, a tailor will be able to accommodate your requests if they are possible or complementary to your desired look. We want to ensure that your dress stays beautiful, keeping its shape while considering your own shape.

The goal of every tailor is to make the client happy. This is especially true when it comes to brides. Olinda’s Fashion Studio welcomes brides to come see us, talk to us, watch us work with other clients, and develop trust in what we do so that we can help on your special day.

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07:46 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)