Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dissertation on Kabisurya Baladeba Ratha's "Kisoracandrananda Campu"

The dissertation “Words into Music: A Study and Translation of Kabisūrẏya Baḷadeba Ratha’s Kiśoracandrānanda Campū” by David Dennen is now available. Here is the abstract:

Composed in the early nineteenth century, Kabisūrẏya Baḷadeba Ratha’s Kiśoracandrānanda Campū (KC) is among the most famous and formally unique works of Odia literature and music. In thirty-four Odia-language songs interspersed with sections of Sanskrit verse and prose, KC tells the centuries-old tale of the romance of Rādhā and Kr̥ṣṇa. Canonized in Odisha by the early twentieth century, the literary greatness of the work is said to lie in its richly figurative language and in its clever deployment of the go-between character, Laḷitā. Since its composition KC has also been performed as music and dance, and in the twentieth century it became a foundational part of the repertory of Odissi classical music and dance.

This dissertation is organized into two parts, the first of which comprises a study of Kiśoracandrānanda Campū. The first chapter introduces the study and outlines Kabisūrẏya’s life as well as the historical and social context in which he composed. The Vaiṣṇava religious tradition that pervaded the court culture of the time, and from which the subject matter of KC was drawn, is given special treatment. The second chapter explores the work from a literary perspective, analyzing the plot and characters in view of tradition while also drawing insights from modern narratology. Importantly, this chapter analyzes the composition’s complex “sound patterns”—including meter, rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration—which give the work its vaunted “musicality.”

The third and fourth chapters discuss the reception of KC, concentrating on the early twentieth century. The third chapter compares the divergent approaches to the text taken by teacher-scholar Kulamani Das and performer-scholar Kalicharan Pattanayak. Special consideration is given to the problems of language and eroticism in the reception of KC, which are theorized in relation to broader developments in late-colonial India. The fourth chapter explores KC’s life as a performed composition; this includes a discussion of a historical controversy over the appropriate musical style in which to perform the work. The fifth chapter analyzes current performance practice in detail.

The second part of the dissertation comprises a transliteration of KC into Roman script and an annotated translation—the first complete translation of the work into any language.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The first version of the Dictionary of Theory has been uploaded! This discusses key words for theories of Odia music and literature (chanda, raga, tala, etc.). It will expand as time goes on.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Translation of essay on Kabisurya Baladeba Ratha

Another new translation posted -- the short essay "Kabisurya Rayaguru" by Tarinicarana Ratha on the poet better known as Kabisurya Baladeba Ratha. This is probably the earliest essay published on the poet, having appeared around 1915 in the journal Utkala Sahitya. The essay includes the "Ga" song from Kisoracandrananda Campu and four verses from the kavya Candrakala; both are translated here, and this may be the first time any part of Candrakala has been translated into English.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Translation of an obituary for Aparna Panigrahi

A new translation has been posted. This is an obituary for the great singer and bina player Aparna Panigrahi. I don't know his exact dates, but he was well known in the first half of the 20th century. The obituary is by well-known writer Lakshminarayana Sahu.