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Sangeet Natak Journal: Special Issue on Alain Danielou
Sangeet Natak Journal: Special Issue on Alain Danielou
Description
Foreword

India today receives much more international attention and respect than it did in the first few years after the country achieved independence. Until recently, India had been perceived in the Western world mainly as exotic and fragile. This situation changed dramatically, slowly since 1968 and then rapidly after a departure in foreign and economic policies in the late l980s. Indian art is now highly visible in international galleries. Books on India abound, especially those on religion and philosophy. Indian writers in English (alas, less so in regional languages) are on the bestseller lists and receive prestigious awards. Indian music in particular has conquered the hearts and minds of listeners all over the world.

This shift in India’s image on the international stage in the twentieth century was initiated among others by the Frenchman Alain Danielou (1907—1994) and his Swiss partner, Raymond Burnier (1912—1968). Both men lived in India for more than twenty years, from the middle l930s to the late 1950s, mainly in Varanasi. Danielou was born in 1907 at Neuilly-sur-Seine into a very respectable family from Brittany. However, his health during his childhood was poor, so he received little formal education. Much later he thought that this was his ‘good luck’. Alain, although a lonely child, was blessed with a sensitive, sharp, and enquiring mind, and built his own little sanctuaries in the forest. ‘There in solitude I had a presentiment of the mystery of the world, so different from human society,’ he wrote.

Nevertheless, despite his solitary pursuits, Danielou received piano lessons and learned singing and later painting. As an adolescent, he was determined to overcome his physical weakness, and so he played sports, participated in canoeing and diving, and even took up dancing. He became an accomplished piano player. As a student he spent a year at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, USA, which was an important experience. Then he moved to Paris and soon entered the circles of artists and intellectuals that dominated the city during the l920s. Here he made a few lifelong friends, mainly among musicians such as Sangeet and musicologists such as Max Danielou and Maurice Marthenot. In 1929, Danielou received a scholarship to study the culture of Algeria. This he did so well that he was recalled for fraternizing too much with the local people. It was in Algeria that he had his first exposure to non-Western music.

In 1932, Danielou together with the photographer Raymond Burnier travelled by car to Afghanistan and onwards to India. At Shantiniketan they were received by Rabindranath Tagore and became friends with the Indian writer and poet. However, Danielou turned down an offer to head the music department at Viswa Bharati. Several trips to India followed, as well as a journey around the world in 1936, to North America, Japan, China, and India again. Danielou and Burnier decided to rent an old palace, Rewa Kothi, at the Assi Ghat in Varanasi.

In 1939, they became residents of the holy city. Danielou began studying Sanskrit, Hindi, religion, and philosophy in the original with Indian pandits. For years he concentrated on reading indigenous sources. He learned to play the rudra veena under Sivendranath Basu and studied—and later translated—Sanskrit texts on the theory of music.

Danielou and Burnier travelled widely in India, to Khajuraho and to other lesser known temples to take photographs, which later became famous. These pictures by Burnier were chosen for the very first exhibition of photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1949. These photographs had been exhibited a year earlier in Calcutta. Years later, in 1982, they were shown at the Musee de l’Elysée in Lausanne.

Danielou retained an open, critical mind and maintained his irreverent attitude towards established schools of thought. He challenged some contemporary concepts, particularly in musicology and Indology. Needless to say, academicians in these disciplines were not enthusiastic or pleased about the interventions of I3anidlou, regarded as an outsider.

Nevertheless, academe co-opted him. From 1949 to 1954, Danielou was the vice principal of the College of Music and Fine Arts at Banares Hindu University (Sri Kala Sangeet Bharti). Here he established the first institute of musicology in India together with Om Karnath Thakur. In 1954, Danielou moved to Adyar (Madras), having accepted the position of director of the Library and Collection of Sanskrit Manuscripts at the Theosophical Society. In 1956, he joined the Institute of Indology in Pondicherry, and later the École Française de l’Extrème Orient, also in the same city. In 1960, Danielou returned to Europe, mainly for personal reasons. Burnier had returned in 1958; he died in 1968.

Soon Danielou realized another of his dreams. He founded the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Doumentation in Berlin in 1963. A parallel institute was set up in Venice in 1970. These two institutes were important not only because they conducted research in the field, but also because Danielou invited musicians from India and from other Asian and African countries for conferences and arranged for their concerts. He was largely responsible for making Ravi Shankar and the Dagar Brothers, among other musicians, known in Europe. In 1981, Danielou settled in Zagarolo, near Rome, Italy. The years that followed proved to be the most creative period of his life. He produced no less than 42 books, which were translated into more than a dozen languages, and hundreds of articles. 1991, the Sangeet Natak Akademi nominated Danielou as a member. Unfortunately, his health did not permit him to be present in India for the occasion. He died on 27 January 1994 in Switzerland.

According to Alain Danielou, musicians are the carriers of culture and civilization in their most essential and refined form, in their diversity and their universality. His tireless efforts on the international stage in promoting musical traditions and his own itinerary, where India played a central role, gives to his legacy a renewed relevance and call for a need to inititate a critical survey.

For his birth centenary in 2007, Indian and foreign scholars and artists came together to fulfill one of Danielou’s greatest wishes, to make his work accessible in India. For this purpose, the Alain Danielou India Committee organized a series of lectures, film shows, and exhibitions. A conference on ‘Indian Art and Music: A Critical Survey of Alain Danielou’s Contribution’ was organized in Varanasi and Delhi in September2008. Scholars from nine countries examined various aspects of Danielou’s work and assessed his contribution to academic discourse on Indian art and culture. Most of the contributions in this issue of the Journal of the Sangeet NatakAkademi have been written especially for this conference.

We would like to thank the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, for giving us the opportunity and the honour of putting together this issue on Alain Danielou as guest editors. We express our thanks to the Akademi for supporting our conference. We are grateful to Anita Singh of the Indian Music Society, New Delhi for sharing her experience and knowledge with us. The Alice Boner Institute, Varanasi, offered us their hospitality and its director, Dinanath Pathy, gave us invaluable advice. A starting grant from the Gustav Prietsch Foundation, Hamburg, gave us much encouragement in the early phase of the project. The India International Centre, New Delhi, kindly invited us to their premises for our programmes. Thanks go to Kapila Vatsyayan and to Premola Ghose for their advice and cooperation. The Swiss Embassy and Pro Helvetia, both in New Delhi, were the first to come forward with strong support and understanding for the project. We thank Olaf Kjelsen and Madhura Pathak at the Swiss Embassy, and Chandrika Grover and Pooja Verma at Pro Helvetia, New Delhi. The Indian Council of Cultural Relations gave us the most valuable help with the logistics, as did the Max Mueller Bhavanl Goethe Institute, New Delhi. We express our thanks to Pavan Verma of ICCR and to Stefan Dreyer of MMB. Ion de Ia Riva, the Ambassador of Spain, has been most understanding and encouraging. Pami Singh of the Attic, New Delhi offered us his valuable counsel. Jacques Cloarec and Sylvain Dumont of the Centre d’Etudes Alain Danielou in Zagarolo, Italy gave us access to their archives and tirelessly supplied us with information. The Casa Asia and the Museum of Music in Barcelona, as well as the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, opened their collections to us. Our special thanks go to Ashok Vajpayee and to Anand Krisna.

Last but not the least; the project could not have been completed without the cooperation and support of our highly motivated and committed team: Lance Dane, Anne Tual, Dhritabrata Bhattacharjya Tato, Renuka George, and Aditi Kaul. We thank them cordially for working with us towards the rediscovery of Alain Danielou and Raymond Burnier in India.

Contents

Foreword 5
Indian Music and Comparative Studies: Assessing Non-Western Cultures – Samuel Berthet 9
A Call for a Dialogue between Ethnomusicology and Other Disciplines – Lakshmi Subramanian 24
The Rasa Yatra of Alain Danielou – Irfan Zuberi 28
From Source to Resource: The Winding Journey of Alain Danielou’s Archives- Dagmar Bernstorff 33
The Digitalization of the Alain Danielou Historical Recordings of the Museu de la Musica and the Casa Asia of Barcelona – Roma Escalas 43
Alain Danielou, Ethnomusicology, and the Dissemination of Eastern Music – Laurent Aubert55
Alain Danielou’s Contribution to the Knowledge of Indian Dance, Music, and Literature – Tiziana Leucci 61
Challenger of Academic Conventions – Peter Pannke 80
Dearest Ones – Rani Chanda 84
Aesthetics and Indian Music – Alain Danielou86
The Traditional Arts and their Place in the Culture of India – Alain Danielou 91
Select Bibliography of Alain Danielou 104
The Contributors 108
Photographs 110

Sangeet Natak Journal: Special Issue on Alain Danielou

Item Code:
NAC367
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2008
Language:
English
Size:
9.5 Inch X 7.4 Inch
Pages:
124 (Illustrated In B/W)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 290 gms
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$15.00   Shipping Free
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Foreword

India today receives much more international attention and respect than it did in the first few years after the country achieved independence. Until recently, India had been perceived in the Western world mainly as exotic and fragile. This situation changed dramatically, slowly since 1968 and then rapidly after a departure in foreign and economic policies in the late l980s. Indian art is now highly visible in international galleries. Books on India abound, especially those on religion and philosophy. Indian writers in English (alas, less so in regional languages) are on the bestseller lists and receive prestigious awards. Indian music in particular has conquered the hearts and minds of listeners all over the world.

This shift in India’s image on the international stage in the twentieth century was initiated among others by the Frenchman Alain Danielou (1907—1994) and his Swiss partner, Raymond Burnier (1912—1968). Both men lived in India for more than twenty years, from the middle l930s to the late 1950s, mainly in Varanasi. Danielou was born in 1907 at Neuilly-sur-Seine into a very respectable family from Brittany. However, his health during his childhood was poor, so he received little formal education. Much later he thought that this was his ‘good luck’. Alain, although a lonely child, was blessed with a sensitive, sharp, and enquiring mind, and built his own little sanctuaries in the forest. ‘There in solitude I had a presentiment of the mystery of the world, so different from human society,’ he wrote.

Nevertheless, despite his solitary pursuits, Danielou received piano lessons and learned singing and later painting. As an adolescent, he was determined to overcome his physical weakness, and so he played sports, participated in canoeing and diving, and even took up dancing. He became an accomplished piano player. As a student he spent a year at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, USA, which was an important experience. Then he moved to Paris and soon entered the circles of artists and intellectuals that dominated the city during the l920s. Here he made a few lifelong friends, mainly among musicians such as Sangeet and musicologists such as Max Danielou and Maurice Marthenot. In 1929, Danielou received a scholarship to study the culture of Algeria. This he did so well that he was recalled for fraternizing too much with the local people. It was in Algeria that he had his first exposure to non-Western music.

In 1932, Danielou together with the photographer Raymond Burnier travelled by car to Afghanistan and onwards to India. At Shantiniketan they were received by Rabindranath Tagore and became friends with the Indian writer and poet. However, Danielou turned down an offer to head the music department at Viswa Bharati. Several trips to India followed, as well as a journey around the world in 1936, to North America, Japan, China, and India again. Danielou and Burnier decided to rent an old palace, Rewa Kothi, at the Assi Ghat in Varanasi.

In 1939, they became residents of the holy city. Danielou began studying Sanskrit, Hindi, religion, and philosophy in the original with Indian pandits. For years he concentrated on reading indigenous sources. He learned to play the rudra veena under Sivendranath Basu and studied—and later translated—Sanskrit texts on the theory of music.

Danielou and Burnier travelled widely in India, to Khajuraho and to other lesser known temples to take photographs, which later became famous. These pictures by Burnier were chosen for the very first exhibition of photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1949. These photographs had been exhibited a year earlier in Calcutta. Years later, in 1982, they were shown at the Musee de l’Elysée in Lausanne.

Danielou retained an open, critical mind and maintained his irreverent attitude towards established schools of thought. He challenged some contemporary concepts, particularly in musicology and Indology. Needless to say, academicians in these disciplines were not enthusiastic or pleased about the interventions of I3anidlou, regarded as an outsider.

Nevertheless, academe co-opted him. From 1949 to 1954, Danielou was the vice principal of the College of Music and Fine Arts at Banares Hindu University (Sri Kala Sangeet Bharti). Here he established the first institute of musicology in India together with Om Karnath Thakur. In 1954, Danielou moved to Adyar (Madras), having accepted the position of director of the Library and Collection of Sanskrit Manuscripts at the Theosophical Society. In 1956, he joined the Institute of Indology in Pondicherry, and later the École Française de l’Extrème Orient, also in the same city. In 1960, Danielou returned to Europe, mainly for personal reasons. Burnier had returned in 1958; he died in 1968.

Soon Danielou realized another of his dreams. He founded the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Doumentation in Berlin in 1963. A parallel institute was set up in Venice in 1970. These two institutes were important not only because they conducted research in the field, but also because Danielou invited musicians from India and from other Asian and African countries for conferences and arranged for their concerts. He was largely responsible for making Ravi Shankar and the Dagar Brothers, among other musicians, known in Europe. In 1981, Danielou settled in Zagarolo, near Rome, Italy. The years that followed proved to be the most creative period of his life. He produced no less than 42 books, which were translated into more than a dozen languages, and hundreds of articles. 1991, the Sangeet Natak Akademi nominated Danielou as a member. Unfortunately, his health did not permit him to be present in India for the occasion. He died on 27 January 1994 in Switzerland.

According to Alain Danielou, musicians are the carriers of culture and civilization in their most essential and refined form, in their diversity and their universality. His tireless efforts on the international stage in promoting musical traditions and his own itinerary, where India played a central role, gives to his legacy a renewed relevance and call for a need to inititate a critical survey.

For his birth centenary in 2007, Indian and foreign scholars and artists came together to fulfill one of Danielou’s greatest wishes, to make his work accessible in India. For this purpose, the Alain Danielou India Committee organized a series of lectures, film shows, and exhibitions. A conference on ‘Indian Art and Music: A Critical Survey of Alain Danielou’s Contribution’ was organized in Varanasi and Delhi in September2008. Scholars from nine countries examined various aspects of Danielou’s work and assessed his contribution to academic discourse on Indian art and culture. Most of the contributions in this issue of the Journal of the Sangeet NatakAkademi have been written especially for this conference.

We would like to thank the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, for giving us the opportunity and the honour of putting together this issue on Alain Danielou as guest editors. We express our thanks to the Akademi for supporting our conference. We are grateful to Anita Singh of the Indian Music Society, New Delhi for sharing her experience and knowledge with us. The Alice Boner Institute, Varanasi, offered us their hospitality and its director, Dinanath Pathy, gave us invaluable advice. A starting grant from the Gustav Prietsch Foundation, Hamburg, gave us much encouragement in the early phase of the project. The India International Centre, New Delhi, kindly invited us to their premises for our programmes. Thanks go to Kapila Vatsyayan and to Premola Ghose for their advice and cooperation. The Swiss Embassy and Pro Helvetia, both in New Delhi, were the first to come forward with strong support and understanding for the project. We thank Olaf Kjelsen and Madhura Pathak at the Swiss Embassy, and Chandrika Grover and Pooja Verma at Pro Helvetia, New Delhi. The Indian Council of Cultural Relations gave us the most valuable help with the logistics, as did the Max Mueller Bhavanl Goethe Institute, New Delhi. We express our thanks to Pavan Verma of ICCR and to Stefan Dreyer of MMB. Ion de Ia Riva, the Ambassador of Spain, has been most understanding and encouraging. Pami Singh of the Attic, New Delhi offered us his valuable counsel. Jacques Cloarec and Sylvain Dumont of the Centre d’Etudes Alain Danielou in Zagarolo, Italy gave us access to their archives and tirelessly supplied us with information. The Casa Asia and the Museum of Music in Barcelona, as well as the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, opened their collections to us. Our special thanks go to Ashok Vajpayee and to Anand Krisna.

Last but not the least; the project could not have been completed without the cooperation and support of our highly motivated and committed team: Lance Dane, Anne Tual, Dhritabrata Bhattacharjya Tato, Renuka George, and Aditi Kaul. We thank them cordially for working with us towards the rediscovery of Alain Danielou and Raymond Burnier in India.

Contents

Foreword 5
Indian Music and Comparative Studies: Assessing Non-Western Cultures – Samuel Berthet 9
A Call for a Dialogue between Ethnomusicology and Other Disciplines – Lakshmi Subramanian 24
The Rasa Yatra of Alain Danielou – Irfan Zuberi 28
From Source to Resource: The Winding Journey of Alain Danielou’s Archives- Dagmar Bernstorff 33
The Digitalization of the Alain Danielou Historical Recordings of the Museu de la Musica and the Casa Asia of Barcelona – Roma Escalas 43
Alain Danielou, Ethnomusicology, and the Dissemination of Eastern Music – Laurent Aubert55
Alain Danielou’s Contribution to the Knowledge of Indian Dance, Music, and Literature – Tiziana Leucci 61
Challenger of Academic Conventions – Peter Pannke 80
Dearest Ones – Rani Chanda 84
Aesthetics and Indian Music – Alain Danielou86
The Traditional Arts and their Place in the Culture of India – Alain Danielou 91
Select Bibliography of Alain Danielou 104
The Contributors 108
Photographs 110
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