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The Other Trinity: Saurashtra Histories of Karnatak Music

Shivdasani Seminar
OCHS Library
Dr. Archana Venkatesan
Monday, 4 February 2013 - 2:00pm

In this paper I examine the place of Veṅkaṭaramaṇa Bhāgavatar (1781-1874), Kavi Veṅkaṭasūri (1818-1890) and Nāyaki Svāmikaḷ (1843-1914)--three nineteenth century figures—in the Saurashtra reimagining of the history of the South Indian music tradition. Worshipped as the mummūrti, these three poet/saint/musicians are regarded by the Saurashtra community of Madurai as the alternate to the deified figures of Tyāgarāja, Muttusvāmi Dikitar and Śyāma Śāstri, canonical to the South Indian classical tradition as it develops in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Engaging with recent scholarship of the cultural histories of South Indian music, my paper moves us from Chennai to Madurai and to the (continuing) work of the Saurashtra community in rewriting the script for South Indian music.