Play it Again Saraswathi: Gramophone, Religion and Devotional Music in Colonial South India

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Hughes, Stephen;
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Subject: 200 | 5300 | 1550

This paper considers brief period in the late 1920s and early 1930s when south Indian gramophone industry explicitly drew upon the power, magic and divinity of Hindu musical traditions. I will argue that music recording companies drew upon a Hindu theology of sound as a... View more
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    e 4 R 1 . a  6 ib e r m 3. Explicitly inspired by the work of John Ruskin and William Morris in England,

    20 years later in Weimar Germany. Coomaraswamy's criticism, however, crucially

    Indian art against its erosion under colonial rule. 4. On this point regarding Coomaraswamy and the primacy of voice, see Weidman

    2006, 256-260. 5. When referring to the record company, I  use their own transliterated spelling

    the now more common spelling “Saraswati.” 6. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar (1890-1967) was a very infl uential fi gure who

    Karnatik music concerts (Subramanian 2008, 47-56). 7. Th e technical aspects of an early recording session are described in great detail by

    temporary studio (Th e Hindu, Sept. 27, 1932, p. 7). 8. For more discussion of this booklet and the image, see Weidman (2006, 264-266).

    as the classical Karnatik composer Tyagaraja and the devadasis as housewives. 9. I am indebted to James Benson for his translation from Sanskrit.

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