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Prof. Amanda Weidman (Anthropology, Bryn Mawr): Trading Voices: The Gendered Beginnings of Playback in South India (Mon 12/5, 4P

Event Start: 
Monday, December 5, 2016 - 4:00pm
Location: 
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)

The Center for Ethnomusicology presents a talk by:

Prof. Amanda Weidman (Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College)

Trading Voices: The Gendered Beginnings of Playback in South India

Monday Dec. 5, 2016
4-6PM
701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnomusicology)
Free and Open to the Public
Reception to Follow

Description: This talk examines the period of transition from singing actors and actresses to the playback system in the South Indian Tamil language film industry, focusing on its gendered beginnings as a form of experimentation with female voices and bodies in the 1940s.  I examine the discourse around actresses that viewed them as fragmentable entities, discussed in terms of natippu (acting), pattu (singing), nattiyam (dancing), and azhaku (looks, beauty); debates about the practice of iraval kural, the “traded” voice; and the ways that female voice-body relationships were constructed and managed in films of the late 1940s and early 50s, in which a system of differentiated female voices accomplished crucial ideological work.  

More broadly, I argue that playback lent itself to the typification of characters, since the character traits of the onscreen body, rather than being voiced by the actress with whatever kind of voice she might have, could be accentuated by the use of a “suitable” playback voice. With its constructed pairing of voices and bodies, playback theoretically made gender crossings and “cross-dressed” voices possible, but in this context it in fact led to a greater regimentation of voice-body relationships and gendered vocal sound—a regimentation that would be realized concretely in the vocal domination of a very few playback singers later in the 1950s. 

Amanda Weidman is a cultural anthropologist with interests in music, language, performance, technological mediation, and semiotics.  She has conducted research in South India for more than 20 years, and is currently at work on a book project on the aesthetics and ideologies that govern playback singing in the South Indian Tamil film industry.  She is a member of the Anthropology Department at Bryn Mawr College, where she teaches courses in Linguistic Anthropology, Anthropology of Sound and Media, History of Anthropological Theory, and contemporary South Asia. She is also a Karnatic violinist.  She holds the PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University, and is the author of Singing the Modern, Voicing the Classical (Duke U. P. 2006).

Indian Music Week! Yogi Trivedi on Some Principles of Hindustani Music

The ARChive of Contemporary Music&The Center for Ethnomusicology
at Columbia University present:

Some Principles of Hindustani Music
A lecture by:
Yogi Trivedi
(Dept. of Religion, Columbia University)

In celebration of India Music Week 2013!

This lecture was delivered to the Columbia University course:  Music V3321y "Musics of South&West Asia"

For more on India Music Week see:
http://indiamusicweek.org
http://indiamusicweek.wordpress.com

Lecture text Copyright and All Rights Reserved by Y. Trivedi 2013

Yogi Trivedi is a doctoral student in the Department of Religion at Columbia University, and the Teaching Assistant for the course "Musics of South and West Asia," in Columbia's Music Department for Fall 2013.  

Yogi is a trained Hindustani classical, devotional, and folk singer.  He has performed at various venues around the world, including the Continental Airlines Arena, Carnegie Hall, and Alexander Palace.

His research focuses on the expressions of Bhakti or the devotional strand of Hinduism through music in Early Modern Gujarat, India.  He works primarily with the bhakti-poetry of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. His background as a broadcast journalist also allows him to assist in teaching courses at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

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