Voice culture and singing in intercultural perspective

Full screen viewing link: https://archive.org/details/voice-culture-and-singing-kalakshetra-quarterly-1983

Voice Culture and Singing by Friedrich Brueckner-Rueggeberg

Peter Calatin (left) and Friedrich Brueckner-Rueggeberg (centre) with students at
Kalakshetra in 1983 © Ludwig Pesch

This course material was originally produced for – and used by – teachers and students at Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts, today known as Rukmini Devi College Of Fine Arts | Learn more >>

“What unites Indians is a love for songs” by linguist Ganesh Devy

Mahatma Gandhi stamp set | Mahatma Gandhi and music >>

It should not be an exaggeration if one claims that in terms of the average citizen’s ability to recall a large number of songs and to hum them in however terrible a voice, India probably tops the world chart.

When I was three or four years old, my father brought home a radio set. This was six decades ago. It was among the few radiograms that the village had by then, a proud possession for us and quite a public spectacle for the neighbours.[…]

Six decades later, I still recall with great clarity the sweet melodies I heard coming through the first radio programme I ever heard. Over these decades, I have been listening to the radio, almost entirely for the musical part of its broadcast. Of course, it was not the radio alone that brought songs to me. They came from older members of the family who used to hum while carrying out activities at home. They came to one during festivals and weddings and during ceremonies associated with welcoming new arrivals in the family. They came from wandering mendicants, bullock-cart drivers, farmers engrossed in sowing fields, women gathered to make pickles and spices, katha and kirtan performers and the sweetest among them came from mothers trying to put babies to sleep.

Later, much later, when I was in my thirties, I started working with adivasis in western India. Whenever our discussion revolved round their identity, they invariably alluded to the traditions of songs they had. By then, I had read plenty of Marx, Gandhi, Ambedkar and Lohia, and I liked to imagine that adivasis would want to speak in agony about the injustice that the ‘system’ had caused them. To my surprise, they were not as much articulate about things political as they were about things cultural. Through my years of work with them, I have met individuals who can go on singing the entire Mahabharata. The Bhils living on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat have several epics of their own: the singers took immense pride in rendering the entire opus, without missing out a single syllable. I also came across members of the Bharthari community from central Indian forest states who could render, just for the asking, an entire saga of a legendary king. A friend of mine from the Banjara community once told me that the Banjaras have a poetic genre called ‘lehngi’. When I suggested that he should pen them down if he remembered any of the compositions, he said that he could recall close to 6,000 ‘lehngis’. I was not stunned by his claim because previously I had heard from a friend from the Nayak community that he knew more than 9,000 songs. And this one had a great voice. I still recall how mesmerized I was when he sang for a few hours, one song after another. […]

Source: “What unites Indians is a love for songs” by Ganesh [G.N.] Devy (The Telegraph, 1 November 2019)
URL: https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/the-musical-legacy-of-kabir-mira-nanak-tukaram-akka-mahadevi-what-unites-indians-is-a-love-for-songs/cid/1716091
Date Visited: 14 July 2022

Very few people know that Gandhi was extremely fond of Music and arts. Most of us have been all along under the impression that he was against all arts such as music. In fact, he was a great lover of music, though his philosophy of music was different. In his own words ‘Music does not proceed from the throat alone. There is music of mind, of the senses and of the heart.’ […]

According to Mahatma ‘In true music there is no place for communal differences and hostility.’ Music was a great example of national integration because only there we see Hindu and Muslim musicians sitting together and partaking in musical concerts. He often said, ‘We shall consider music in a narrow sense to mean the ability to sing and play an instrument well, but, in its wider sense, true music is created only when life is attuned to a single tune and a single time beat. Music is born only where the strings of the heart are not out of tune.’

Source: “Mahatma Gandhi – A unique musician” by Namrata Mishra (Sr. Asst. Prof of Vocal Music, R.C.A. Girls P. G. College, Mathura
URL: https://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/mahatma-gandhi-unique-musician.html
Date Visited: 17 July 2022

Worldcat lists compiled by Ludwig Pesch

Carnatic (South Indian classical) music 

Rabindranath Tagore: works by and about the influential writer, humanist and social reformer

Indian performing arts


Publications, book chapters and articles by Ludwig Pesch

Indien – eine ferne Heimat

Ein Referat von Ludwig Pesch, Musikologe und Flötist, Amsterdam

Überarbeitete Version mit aktualisierten Quellenangaben 2022

Ein Beitrag aus der Konzert- und Kolloquiumsreihe „Musik & Mensch“ – Zyklus 2007/2008 HEIMAT, Uhr Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW, Aarau (Schweiz)

Wir sollen heiter Raum um Raum durchschreiten,
An keinem wie an einer Heimat hängen,
Der Weltgeist will nicht fesseln uns und engen,
Er will uns Stuf‘ um Stufe heben, weiten.

„Stufen“ von Hermann Hesse (4. Mai 1941)
Ein Gedicht, das für viele vertraut klingt: Deutschlandfunk Kultur >>

Text und Musik: Manickam Yogeswaran

On rights, peace and reconciliation.
And peaceful co-existence.
Rights, Peace and Reconciliation
Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims
Everybody living with dignity
That’s the true meaning of Rights.
Celebrate each others’ rights
That’s the true meaning of Peace.
Race, language, caste, difference
Living in harmony.
Agnus dei, qui tollis pecatur mundi,
Miserere domini.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
So, it’s been possible to talk peace. Indeed, live in peace.
There is an alternative to war and destruction. Everyone remember these three words.
They may not be religious mottos, but important for the future of Sri Lanka.
Important for the future of this unfair world.
Rights, Peace and Reconciliation.

Gathe Gathe para gathe paragadhi
Gathe Bodhi swaha.
Gone gone all gone beyond
Gone into Buddha nature.
This is the first preaching of Buddha after his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

More audio and video contents by Manickam Yogeswaram >>

Idakka P. Nanda Kumar belongs to the Marar community of hereditary temple musicians whose members have played the Idakka for several centuries. As Mridangam exponent with advanced training under Palghat T. R. Rajamani – son of the legendary Palghat Mani Iyer – he incorporates complex Carnatic patterns in his Idakka performances. Video © P.V. Jayan and Ludwig Pesch (2009) | For more information, visit https://www.nandakumar.mimemo.net

Book release & Foreword: “Arangilum Munnilum Pinnilum” – Gopal Venu and Kerala’s thriving performing arts

Foreword to Gopal Venu’s new book in Malayalam, titled Arangilum Munnilum Pinnilum; shared by Vinod Kumar (Chennai/Dubai) during the book release online event held on 16 November 2021: an opportunity to reflect on shared cultural roots, values and an association spanning several generations via both, the author’s parents and those of the present writer. In short, one of those rare occasions when light may be shed on the role played by renowned performers and teachers whose contributions to artistic life and training have stood the test of time for all to see and enjoy:

Photo © Natanakairali

The distilling of art education, sharing of knowledge and dissemination of a timeless tradition is best evidenced in Shri Venu’s work on his now legendary ‘Navarasa Sadhana’ workshops that are now attended by dancers, theatre artists, writers, actors, rasikas and even simple folk who carry a deep interest in the art of abhinaya.

Learn more: “Navarasa Sadhana: A system of acting methodology for actors and dancers” by Gopal Venu on Narthaki.com, India’s Gateway to the World of Dance >>

Inquiries on Navarasa Sadhana workshops: abhinayakairali@gmail.com

A Theatre for All: Sittrarangam (The small theatre Madras) – Free Download

A Theatre for All Sittrarangam—the small theatre Madras by Ludwig Pesch with a Foreword by Himanshu Burte

Download the epub-version for offline reading, printing or getting read out on the Archive.org website >>

eka.grata publications © Amsterdam 2002 (print version), 2016 (ebook versions)

Digital edition © Ludwig Pesch 2016 based on the 2nd revised edition 2002This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

Beautifully and very imaginatively conceived. India needs theatres of this kind in every village.

Goverdhan Panchal, Emeritus Instructor of Scene Design at the National School of Drama and author of books and articles on traditional Indian theatre

Project website

Sittrarangam is discussed in the chapter on Indian theatre architecture together with Kalakshetra and Kerala Kalamandalam in:
The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre edited by Ananda Lal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 18-19