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AfroAsian Musical Imaginaries

Of Circulations and Interconnections

Edited by Sumangala Damodaran

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AfroAsian Musical Imaginaries-1

This book contains a selection of papers presented at a colloquium on ‘AfroAsian Musical Imaginaries’ that was organized by the India International Centre–International Research Division (IIC–IRD) in collaboration with a multi-institutional project titled ‘Re-centring AfroAsia: Musical and Human Migrations, 700–1500 AD’, which involved the University of the Western Cape, the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Kwazulu-Natal, the University of Cape Town, the University of Dar es Salaam, the University of Addis Ababa and the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University Delhi, between 2016 and 2021. As part of an attempt to create a new scholarship that brings the two continents together, work by scholars from the project uncovering musical connections was brought into conversation with the work of other scholars and practitioners of music on similar themes. Based on an understanding that music can be an important lens through which cultural links between parts of the world that have long historical connections can be uncovered, even when these connections have not been adequately identified or acknowledged, the most important question raised by the papers in this book is how this can be done. The book also points towards how such scholarship and performative interactions can prise open several orthodoxies in the understanding of musical systems.

Sumangala Damodaran

Sumangala Damodaran is a musician and composer who has archived and written about Indian resistance music traditions, and done collaborative performative and scholarly work on music with poets, musicians, and academics. She has undertaken research and documentation of the musical tradition of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) from the 1940s and 1950s, and has performed extensively from the documented repertoire. She has also collaborated with poets and musicians from South Africa in a project titled 'Insurrections', and is currently engaged in researching the relationship between music and migration, particularly of women in slavery and servitude across centuries and across vast tracts of the globe that were linked through long-distance trade in commodities and symbolic goods. This is a collaborative project between scholars and musicians, and several universities, in Africa and Asia.