My blog was established in conjunction with my participation in FOLK-F121 "World's Arts and Cultures" at Indiana University, Fall 2007.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


About two months ago, my boyfriend called and asked me if I would like to go to watch an Iranian singer perform with him and his parents in Indianapolis. Normally, I would say no, since Middle Eastern music isn’t my type, but then I realized that this would be a great opportunity to experience something from a different culture and be able to write about it for this class. I immediately responded with a yes, and made plans to go to Indy to watch an Iranian performer named Sara.

About a month ago, my boyfriend, his family, and I made the trip to Indy. His family is Iranian and listens to her music all the time, so I felt a little out of place. When we arrived to the venue, we walked inside and the walls were lined with golden ornate decorations and Middle Eastern music was playing over the intercom. There were booths setup in the lobby with different Middle Eastern instruments on tables as well as jewelry, clothes, and other native Middle Eastern commodities. The lights flashed and everyone was herded into the auditorium to take their seats. Then, one single spotlight hit the stage and Sara came out.

She opened with one of her more popular songs that a lot of people around me knew the words to. I don’t speak the language, so I had no idea what she was singing about, but I could tell with her facial expressions that it was about something emotional. Some people actually got up and danced, which was the most entertaining part of the concert. They dance a lot differently from how I dance. They move their bodies differently, and the males actually are more fluid, and move more than the females.

It was an amazing experience, and I’m so glad I was able to be there.
This is my response to Encounter Project 3

Sunday, October 21, 2007


When I was thinking about this reflection question, I wondered to myself, how many traditions do I belong to? If I do something twice does it qualify as a tradition? Do the same people have to be apart of the tradition? While reading chapter three, I realized that like a lot of lore, tradition refers to several related concepts (65). The book said that tradition has three main concepts: being the lore we share and the process by which we share it, creates and confirms identity, and is something a group identifies as a tradition (65).

I sat for a while, trying to think of a tradition that I was a part of that I felt was starting to disappear or one that has already disappeared. I realized that one very common and important tradition that has faded for my family is thanksgiving. The book says that since traditions exist because they are meaningful, they rarely ever end outright (75). I find this to be extremely true with thanksgiving in my family. Every year my family and I went to Washington, Indiana to my grandparents for thanksgiving. The whole family would rent out a mess hall and everyone would bring food. After my father and grandfather passed away, my family stopped going and started having small thanksgivings at our house in Evansville, Indiana. We still keep the same traditions, like always eating turkey and dumplings, playing basketball and football after dinner, and ending the night with cards. The thing that is missing is the mess hall, and the people.

I actually had a hard time finding a tradition that is becoming increasingly central to my life. My boyfriend goes to Purdue, and about once or twice a month, I go to West Lafayette to visit. Every Sunday around one, my boyfriend, his best friend, and I go to IHOP. We haven’t missed a Sunday yet when I go to visit. It has actually become something that is unspoken, just understood, which makes it a tradition to me. It’s always just the three of us, and we usually always order the same thing every time.

My boyfriend is Muslim, so I have witnessed many traditions that I don’t belong to. The main tradition that I have been able to take part in was their big dinner for the end of Rhamadan. They have this huge feast at their house every year with traditional Iranian food such as blended potatoes, green beans, and broccoli fried in a skillet, and lots of rice. The music was absolutely intriguing and their dancing was quite entertaining. It is nothing like what dancing is like from my culture. It was one of the most enjoyable nights I have ever had, and was really excited to be brought into their religious tradition for a day.

This blog entry is my response to Reflection Questions for Chapter 3.Sims, Martha C., and Martine Stephens. Living Folklore An Introduction to the Study of People and Their Traditions. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2005

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Music Genres

While reading Cassandra’s blog entry about going to see the band Phil Lesh and friends play, I couldn’t help but realize how alike we both are. It is really hard for me to go see bands that I don’t know their style of music or have never heard of them. I have seen a psychedelic band play before, but they weren’t anywhere close to my dad’s age. They were all in their 20s and probably hadn’t been playing for very long.

I actually do usually stick to commercial music, that is music which is played on the radio on popular stations. Occasionally I like to mix it up with some musicals here and there, but honestly I don’t have that much of a variety of music in my life. Cassandra’s experience going to see this band reminded me of when I went to go see an Iranian singer with my boyfriend and his family. At first I was very skeptical, but once I got there and heard her sing I absolutely fell in love with her music. I had no idea what she was singing about, or saying, but the instruments and sounds she made with her voice were phenomenal. This experience taught me to be more open minded about other musical cultures and to appreciate different genres of music.

This is my response to peer review #2.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A Taste of India

For my Encounter Group paper, I decided to tackle the task of going to an Indian restaurant and sampling some of their cuisine. I had heard that Indian food was traditionally spicy, but I wanted to find out a few more things about that specific culture’s cuisine before I went to the restaurant. I went on the internet and found out that most favorite Indian dishes are vegetarian, even though many traditional Indian dishes provide chicken, goat, lamb, fish, and other meats (Wikipedia). I also learned that the staples of all Indian food are rice and a variety of spices (Wikipedia). I figured that I like both spices and rice, so I was pretty excited to try Indian food for the first time.

I went home to Evansville, Indiana for the weekend to visit my family. Friday night after I got there, my mother suggested that the whole family go to lunch on Saturday at this new Indian restaurant called Karim’s. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to try many flavors of Indian cuisine and use my first experience for an encounter project.

My mother, her boyfriend, and my younger sister all went to Karim’s for lunch. We decided to order this combination platter that contained tandoori fish, which was basically spiced fish roasted in the oven. The only fish I really eat is salmon, so this type of fish really through me off. It was dark, and very, very spicy. I was preparing myself for more of a seafood taste, but there was no recognizable seafood taste to this dish. It was more like a very tender, spicy chicken. I didn’t dislike it, but it was too spicy for what I’m used to, so I probably wouldn’t order it again.

The next dish his platter contained was called nargisi kofta, which was basically meatballs stuffed with eggs. I actually really enjoyed this dish. It tasted like it might have been Americanized, since it was more salty than the usual mix of foreign hot sauces, spices, and herbs. I’m pretty sure that the nargisi kofta was the favorite food of the afternoon.

The last thing on the platter was the tukhm-e-murgh masala. I actually couldn’t recognize what it was, so I asked our waitress. She said that it was basically herbs and spices mixed up with eggs and curry. I honestly probably only had about two bites of this dish. It was extremely spicy, and I am just not used to that type of spice being incorporated into my diet. Also, it was really, for lack of a better word, mushy. I actually came to find that most of the food that Karim’s offered was more on the mushy side rather than crispy.

I actually really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the restaurant. It was full of very vibrant colors and played traditional Indian music while you ate. Overall, I liked the food that I tried. It was definitely different from anything I have ever had, but it was a good experience. Also, I did find a new favorite food of mine in the nargisi kofta dish. I really appreciate their love for herbs and spices and use of flavors. I wouldn’t mind going back again.
This is my response to the second encounter project on the restaurant visit.

Works Cited Last updated October 5, 2007.