Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music – Hereditary Musicians, Hindustani Music and the Public Sphere in Late Nineteenth Century Calcutta

Date/Time: Thu 11 May / 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Location: Elizabeth Burchill Room, Menzies Building, E561


Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music Research Seminars

Presented by Adrain McNeil

In the late nineteenth century, Hindustani music and its culture arrived in Calcutta’s public sphere. It was carried there as much through the migration and agency of the professional lives of the ‘Ustads from the North’ as it was through the forces of coloniality, modernity and Hindu nationalism. On its arrival, the performance practice and social organisation of Hindustani music culture came face to face with the bustle of social and cultural experimentation and innovation that came to define the Bengal Renaissance. Hindustani music was certainly not isolated from this larger cultural dynamic, and over four or five decades its practitioners were compelled to formulate a series of responses to negotiate the challenges which this public sphere posed to past practices of this transplanted tradition from North India to Bengal.
Their responses bring into focus a number of significant issues. Primary amongst these is the question of what exactly what were these responses and what consequences did they have on the development of Hindustani music and its culture, both social and musical, short and long term.

Adrian has written widely on Hindustani music – from political economy, performance theory, ethnography and cultural history. He completed his post doctoral research at Jadavpur University in Kolkata and has worked in other universities and research centres in India. He trained in performance on the sarod according to traditional methods and has performed in major festivals and recorded in India for National State Radio, television. His book Inventing the sarod: a cultural history is the authoritative text on the topic. He is a Senior Lecturer in ethnomusicology in the School of Musi

For further information, please contact
Paul Watt
990 53634

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