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Title: Cultural dependence in question: An exploration of musical practices of South Indian film in Singapore
Authors: Dairianathan, Eugene
Issue Date: 2005
Citation: Dairianathan, E. (2005). Cultural dependence in question: An exploration of musical practices of South Indian film in Singapore. Festschrift, 2005, 174-192.
Abstract: The entry on music in Singapore by Lee Tong Soon (2001:421) in the Groves
Dictionary of Music and Musicians makes the following observations: "The
majority of Indians in Singapore speak Tamil, while other large groups include
the Malayalis, Punjabis, Sindhis, Bengalis, and Gujaratis. Temple music from
the Carnatic tradition, featuring the nagaswaram (oboe) and tavil (doubleheaded
barrel drum) is performed to announce daily prayer times and during
festivals such as Thaipusam and Thimithi. Other genres include bhajanas
(Sanskrit bhajans), film music and Hindustani and Carnatic classical music."
Film music appears between Sanskrit bhajans and Hindustani and Carnatic
classical music. Less, either in description or scholarship is available to inform
a reader of the presence and practice of film music in Singapore. Apart from
Joseph Peters' (1993) noteworthy contribution on classical and folk culture of
the Indian community in the ASEAN context, Lee's entry in Groves contains
no single bibliographical reference in English, Tamil or Hindi on the subject.
Nevertheless, cursory descriptions of music evince practices likely to have
been found in a public setting, albeit in a select community of supporters. Appearances
of music-making at a public setting suggest a deeper level of this
collective action, namely ways in which it may have been initiated, nurtured
and supported. There has arisen an implicit view, in writings and oral interviews,
of an overwhelming reliance on India for cultural and musical sustenance,
not only of folk and classical traditions but film music and culture as
well; a view almost as unanimous as it is unquestioned. This essay involves a
critical assessment of cultural reliance in the practice of music of South Indian
film in Singapore through oral interviews and other supporting documentation.
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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