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This performance brings together the amorous song of the courtesan, songs from the Bhakti/Sufi traditions, and queer stories from the Indian Subcontinent. This labor of love, shared in an intimate gathering, juxtaposes erotic poem songs from the Indian musical tradition and stories of love, longing, passion, and pain from the queer community.
Balakrishnan Raghavan is a doctoral student in cross-cultural musicology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Bala’s work focuses on oral traditions of music across the Indian subcontinent, with an emphasis on the politics of spirituality, sacred songs, South Asian performing traditions, mystical traditions, caste, gender, and sexuality. Bala trained for over twenty years in traditional vocal music, including a two-year-long immersive discipleship with South Indian Classical musician Dr.R.Vedavalli and fifteenth-century mystic poet-saint Kabir’s philosophy and songs from Shri. Prahlad Tipaniya. With over ten years of interdisciplinary performance experience, he attempts to re-imagine the many ways of looking at traditional music from India, centering the marginalized experience at the intersection of song, immigration, spirituality, gender, and personal narrative.