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37 Minutes | English | 2023
Explore the story of this fascinating encounter between two diverse musical traditions in colonial India when the southern Indian composer Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775–1835) wrote lyrics in Sanskrit to colonial tunes that had arrived on Indian soil with the British East India Company.
Written and directed by Cincinnati-based composer and scholar Kanniks Kannikeswaran, this film traces the musical journey of Dikshitar through various sacred sites and explores the contrast between traditional raga-based compositions and the ‘nottuswara sahityas’ (songs with Sanskrit lyrics written to Western tunes). Featuring footage from temples, festivals, and interviews with folk music performers from the Cincinnati area, the film offers a view of eighteenth-century European tunes that traveled across the world and took on varied forms in India and in the United States.
The film screening will be followed by a short Q&A session with the director.
Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran is a music composer, educator and scholar known for his sustained contribution to music and community for the past 25 years. Kannik’s work with Indian American Choral music; his influenced over 3500 performers, inspired community choirs in more than 12 U.S. cities, and built new audiences and collaborations. His flagship production Shanti A Journey of Peace featuring a cast of 200+ is rooted in the Upanishadic vision of oneness and portrays 5000 years of Indian cultural history using choral music and multimedia. His research and his first-ever recording of the Indo Colonial Music of eighteenth-century composer Muthuswami Dikshitar in 2008 have received critical acclaim. Kanniks has collaborated with well- known ensembles and musicians such as as Bombay Jayashri, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Ajay Chakraborty, Ranjani and Gayatri, Lakshmi Shankar, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and others. Kanniks is the recipient of several awards including the Ohio Heritage Fellowship and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Madras.