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Tejaswini Niranjana | Musicophilia in Mumbai
April 15, 2016, 8:30 am - 10:00 am
Hindustani art music in the metropolis of Bombay/Mumbai played a significant role in the fashioning of public space from the late 19th century to the 1960s. With the fall of Awadh in northern India in 1857 and the dispersal of the court that had inherited Hindustani music from the Mughal empire, the singers, instrumentalists and dancers began to migrate to the ‘native states’, big and small, seeking new patrons. Many of them also found a foothold in Bombay city, which had grown in importance through the 19th century as a major centre of trade and commerce. The city came to occupy a central position in assembling the new structures and spaces of performance, pedagogy, recording and consumption of Hindustani music. Musicophilia became a visible feature of the metropolitan scene, and although it was not Hindustani music alone that shaped this musicophilia, it formed an important part of it. I suggest that the passion for Hindustani music was strongly linked to the linguistic diversity of Bombay city, and that it was the lingua musica which aided the development of the public domain and its cultural vernacular in the 20th century. The talk will draw on old postcards, photographs, live recordings, and research interviews.