ISSN: 20570341
First published in 2016
2 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 2
Cover Date: August 2017
South Indian singing, digital dissemination and belonging in London’s Tamil diaspora
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Authors:  Jasmine Hornabrook 
DOI: 10.1386/jivs.2.2.119_1

Tamil diaspora,Carnatic music,singing,song,Thevaram,belonging,Internet learning,Skype lessons

This article explores the digital dissemination of Carnatic – South Indian classical – and Tamil devotional songs, singing and learning in London’s Tamil diaspora. Carnatic and Tamil devotional singing are key cultural practices in this highly dispersed, or ‘scattered’, diaspora, and are strong markers of collective Tamil cultural identity. The voice embodies the distinct South Indian style and is, therefore, highly iconic in South India, Sri Lanka and their diasporas. To demonstrate how the voice and singing are experienced in multiple locations, the article describes specific examples of how ‘traditional’ vocal practices are disseminated through the Internet. These examples are Skype lessons and online broadcasting of Tamil devotional singing. Through engaging in traditional singing practices in online environments, it is argued that vocal practices are central to a sense of belonging in multiple diasporic localities and to musical, spiritual and cultural diasporic imaginaries.
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