Guest Speaker – Northeastern

Can carnatic music enter mainstream American music just as Latin, hip hop? How are carnatic musicians adapting to the pandemic in the absence of performances? Are there any commonalities between carnatic and western music? These and other questions were posed by students enrolled in the course “Musical Communities of Boston” at Northeastern after my presentation Intro to Carnatic Music.

What does it take for a new musical genre to create an impact especially when there is a lack of context? Instrumental music is a great way to start exploring musical ideas without being hampered by lyrics. The distinct features of carnatic music can be a challenge yet it hasn’t stopped musicians from collaborating as vainika Nirmala Rajasekar has demonstrated with western classical musicians in a unique interpretation of Maithreem Bhajata, a song that is a wake-up call for us in these troubled times.

Thanks to @Francesca Inglese whose class has the students engaged in semester-long ethnographic fieldwork projects with musical communities in Boston for this opportunity. The Northeastern University music students who’ve been exposed to different musical traditions from Baroque to Hindustani, (accompanying) Brazilian Capoeira were eager to learn about carnatic music. The interaction with students had me look at carnatic musical concepts with fresh eyes. #music #traditions #pedagogy.

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