Fissure or Fusion: Combining the Influences of Western and Indian Music

In conversation with Amit Chaudhuri and Namita Devidayal

Amit Chaudhuri (L) and Namita Devidayal (R) in Mumbai on September 10, 2013. (Asia Society India Centre)

MUMBAI, September 10, 2013 — In an era where sound can travel across the world instantaneously, the pressure of foreign influence has challenged the integrity of regional musical traditions. As a part of the Park's New Festival, the Asia Society India Centre presented a discussion between Amit Chaudhuri and Namita Devidayal to explore the synthesis of Western and Indian music. Chaudhuri is a renowned author, Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia and a passionate musician. Devidayal is a distinguished journalist and author as well as a trained classical singer. Their discussion preceded Chaudhuri's performance of his mixed-media work, "A Moment of Mishearing", that marries Indian music with jazz, blues, and Western pop classics.

In their discourse, Chaudhuri and Devidayal drew on the experiences they had gathered along their own personal creative journeys to provide expert insights on the effects of foreign influences on Indian music. Chaudhuri explained how his own musical upbringing, choosing to listen to Western pop while surrounded by classical Indian music in his Bombay family home, shaped his musical tastes. Moving forward to the present, Chaudhuri and Devidayal pondered the potential dangers of cultural globalisation and questioned the Indian youth's access to and interest in traditional Indian music.

To gain a better understanding of Chaudhuri's work and hear more of the discussion on how globalisation is changing the world of music, watch the video highlights of our programme below.

Reported by Thomas Pierce, Intern, Asia Society India Centre

Video: Excerpts from the programme (7 min., 1 sec.)

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