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The Messiah of My Dreams: Stories of a Contemporary Hindustani Music World by Priya Purshottam


The cast of characters that comprise the Hindustani music world today go beyond the heavily jeweled sari-laden beauties that perform in corporate sponsored music festivals. They are individuals hidden in Chandigarh and Boston; collectors of rare compositions and victims of gender discrimination; stock traders by day and composers by night; feminists operating in traditional frameworks and climate change activists. Their journeys are marked by humor, struggle, and an authenticity that encompass the spirit of this tradition. We have heard countless hyperbolic and nostalgic legends of the past masters. These are the stories of the now, told from the perspective of a practicing musician. Each story is anchored in the metaphor of a core musical principle, whether it is the spontaneity of upaj or the magnetic pull of pukar in the voice. The author’s unique vantage point as a practitioner allows her to weave musical ideas and personal stories that reflect on the tradition’s practice and culture. We encounter these musicians through these musical notions, and become part of the author’s personal journey of understanding her musical form.


Priya Purushothaman is a Hindustani vocalist and writer. As a solo performer, she has toured internationally and collaborated across genres. She has published the book "Living Music: Conversations with Pandit Dinkar Kaikini," and is a contributing writer on Hindustani music to various publications in India. She is a graduate of Columbia University, New York.

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