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Seduction of the Senses – Re-imagining Dance Performance in the 19th century Kabul Court through oral, archival and cinematic resources

Dr Menaka PP Bora and Prof John Baily, Afghanistan Music Unit, Goldsmiths

Wednesday 13 November at 5.30 pm

In Afghanistan there is a type of multi-part extended instrumental composition commonly used as a prelude to a concert of music, to warm up the instruments, musicians and audience. Such compositions are variously known as naghma-ye chahartuk or naghma-ye kashal, and were formerly termed lariya and served as music for dance at the court of the Amirs of the late 19th century. Dr Ahmad Sarmast (Asian Music 2007) has made a connection between the lariya as a musical genre and the type of classical dance depicted in Satyajit Ray’s 1958 film Jalsagar (The Music Room), with music by Ustad Vilayat Khan. In this seminar we describe the basic structure of the lariya as a four-part instrumental piece and Dr Bora will discuss how she has gone about choreographing the dance based on her knowledge of the eight genres of classical Indian dance. Dr Bora performed the dance as part of a concert with the Afghanistan Women’s Orchestra (Ensemble Zohra) in the Holywell Music Room, Oxford, in March 2019. The seminar will conclude with a video screening of that performance.

Dr Menaka PP Bora trained in several classical Indian dance styles, specializing in Sattriya dance from Assam, and has performed as a dance soloist in prestigious festivals and venues across the world. She held a Wingate Scholarship and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to work on Sattriya dance at the University of Oxford, and holds a PhD from Goldsmiths for a thesis on ‘Neo-traditionality’ and ‘Indianness’ in Indian contemporary experimental music.

Prof John Baily has conducted ethnomusicological research on the music of Afghanistan since 1973 and as a performer of the Afghan rubab has taken a special interest in the many lariya compositions he has collected and published (British Journal of Ethnomusicology, 1997). He is Head of the Afghanistan Music Unit at Goldsmiths.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to https://borabaily.eventbrite.co.uk

Location : Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
United Kingdom