bramhubbell / Bram Hubbell

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Huffduffed (27)

  1. Eclipsed By The Moon: Mahlaqa Bai and her Teacher ‘The Incomparable’ in Nizami Hyderabad

    The illustrated version of this podcast is available as a video at

    Mahlaqa Bai “Chanda”, “The Moon”, sang and danced her way into the historical firmament when in 1799 she presented a book of her songs to the Resident of Hyderabad, John Malcolm, in the middle of a nautch. Renowned as the first Indian courtesan to write a divan of Urdu poetry, she was equally famous for her affairs with powerful men at the Nizam of Hyderabad’s court. Obscured by Mahlaqa Bai’s luminescence today, however, is the man behind the Moon, her master-teacher Khushhal Khan “Anup”, “The Incomparable.” As celebrated and as central to Hyderabad’s courtly culture as she was in their time, Khushhal Khan left behind an enormous corpus of songs, several musical treatises, and an illustrated ragamala that tell us a great deal about musical life and lives in Nizami Hyderabad c.1800. In this podcast - originally the opener to a live conversation with historian of Hyderabad William Dalrymple at the British Library - music historian Katherine Schofield discusses the lives and works of these two remarkable characters as they emerge from the writings Anup left to posterity.

    The image illustrating this podcast, Johnson Album 37…

    Original video:
    Downloaded by on Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:13:00 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by bramhubbell

  2. The Rivals: Anjha Baras Khan, Adarang, and What Happened to Muhammad Shah’s Court

    Anjha Baras Khan (d. 1760s) was the last of Tansen’s direct line to inherit the position of chief musician to the Mughal emperors—in this case, Muhammad Shah “Rangila” (r. 1720–48). But the jostling for supremacy between Mughal princes c.1690–1720 had also raised up a usurper musical dynasty headed by the great Ni‘amat Khan “Sadarang” (d. 1746), and his nephew, Firoz Khan “Adarang” (d. 1760s). It is not Anjha Baras, but Sadarang and Adarang who are remembered today as the greatest musicians of the century. The musical rivalry at Muhammad Shah’s court was just the harbinger of a more tumultuous drama that played out c. 1739–1803. What happened to Delhi’s musicians throughout this period, and the music they carried with them, is copiously documented in a genre new to writing on music at this time: the biographical compendium or tazkira. In this lecture, I will be looking at musicians’ biographies 1739–1847 as both a product of upheaval, dispersal, diversification, and innovation; and as a record of these things. Both views give us unusual access to the history of elite artisans on the move in late Mughal and early colonial India.

    Part of the series Histories of the Ephemeral: Writing about Music in Late Mughal India.


    Original video:
    Downloaded by on Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:12:28 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by bramhubbell

  3. The Courtesan and the Memsahib: Khanum Jan Meets Sophia Plowden at the 18C Court of Lucknow

    The images that accompany this podcast may be found here:

    Khanum Jan was a celebrity courtesan in the cantonment of Kanpur and the court of Asafuddaula of Lucknow in 1780s North India. Famed then for her virtuosic singing, dancing, and speaking eyes, Khanum became famous again in the twentieth century because of her close musical interactions with a remarkable Englishwoman, Sophia Plowden. Through Plowden’s papers and extraordinary collection of Khanum’s repertoire, it is possible to reconstruct songs from the Lucknow court as they may have been performed 200 years ago, in both Indian and European versions. In this podcast, Katherine Butler Schofield tells the story of these two women, and harpsichordist Jane Chapman joins her to perform some of Khanum’s “Hindustani Airs”. The intertwined stories of Khanum and Sophia show that using Indian sources of the time to read between the lines of European papers and collections gives us a much richer view of this sadly short-lived moment of intercultural accord in late Mughal India.

    This podcast is part of the project Histories of the Ephemeral: Writing on Music in Late Mugh…

    Original video:
    Downloaded by on Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:11:32 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by bramhubbell

  4. The Maestro: Remembering Khushhal Khan “Gunasamudra” in 18th century Delhi

    Perhaps the most famous anecdote of the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (r.1658–1707) concerns his “burial of music”, a parodic funeral procession put on by devastated court musicians in protest at the Emperor having banned music in 1668. In legend, the leader of this procession was Khushhal Khan “Gunasamudra”, the “Ocean of Virtue”. Khushhal Khan was one of the most feted court musicians of his time. Great-grand-son of the most famous Mughal musician of them all, Tansen, and chief musician to the emperor Shah Jahan (r. 1627–58), he was written about extensively in his lifetime as a virtuoso classical singer of exceptional merit and serious character.

    Yet this was not how he was memorialised a hundred years later. Rather he was remembered as the unprincipled protagonist in a shocking scandal that supernaturally sealed Shah Jahan’s fate:— to be overthrown by his son Aurangzeb. In this talk I will retell the story of Khushhal Khan from the vantage point of the 1750s looking back over the canonical Mughal writings on music of Shah Jahan’s and Aurangzeb’s reigns. In doing so I wish to consider what they tell us about the role and power of music at the Mughal court at the empire’s height, before everything began to unrave…

    Original video:
    Downloaded by on Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:10:55 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by bramhubbell

  5. A Bloody Difficult Woman: Mayalee Dancing Girl vs. the East India Company

    The timeline and images that accompany this podcast will be uploaded shortly.

    In 1818, the East India Company signed a treaty with the autonomous Rajput states of Jaipur and Jodhpur, offering British political and military protection in exchange for heavy cash tribute. By the early 1830s, these states were swimming in debt and increasingly resisting the Company's influence. So in 1835 the Company took direct control over the revenue of the salt lake at Sambhar, still one of India’s largest sources of that most precious of commodities, salt. Sambhar Lake was returned to Jaipur's and Jodhpur’s control in 1842 when, having been brought to the brink of ruin by the Company’s protection racket, their arrears were written off by the Government in Calcutta. Short-lived and little-studied, the Sambhar Lake affair left behind a set of financial accounts in the East India Company records that are alive with details of musicians and dancers, the cycle of Sambhar's festival year, and the economics of such cultural production.

    One musician in particular stands forth from Jaipur's accounts as exceptional, Mayalee “dancing girl”. As well as being paid a monthly cash stipend, she received 25 maunds of salt annually, and was clearly one of Jaipur…

    Original video:
    Downloaded by on Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:09:26 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by bramhubbell

  6. Ep. 57: Handling the Fulcrum of Success with Ex-Punk Ex-Monk Raghunath

    “When climbing the ladder of success, make sure it’s leaning against the right building.”

    A few days ago I lifted myself into a wobbly handstand as sweat dripped down my face in a yoga workshop. And for those who have been following, one of my yearly goals is to hold a handstand for five seconds without assistance.

    (stream it now by clicking here)

    In front of the yoga class, stood my guest on the show Raghunath. To say I’m really excited to share his story on purpose with you would be the understatement of my year so far. I first met Raghunath a bit after I began practicing yoga and have following his work ever since. Although, many of you may have listened also listened to his music like I did as a kid. Were you into the punk rock scene?

    To be completely honest, during the workshop I struggled with ego because I wanted to be able to hold a handstand like he could. He would float into handstand as easy as skipping down the street. And hey…what can I say? I’m a competitive guy.

    I’ll let him tell you his story, but to start off — some of you may know the ex-punk ex-monk Raghunath (or Ray of Today) as Ray Cappo, the singer of the insanely popular band Youth of Today.

    On the chat, Raghunath shares:

    How to handle the fulcrum of success

    Where to lean your ladder when climbing the ladder of success

    Tips to find your true calling. You know…the one that shakes your soul and brings tears to your eyes

    Food for the soul

    Stay connected with Raghunath and perhaps one day we’ll be practicing handstand next to each other at Super Soul Farm. After all, my handstand still needs quite a bit of work!

    Main website

    Yoga teacher training

    His audio course 


    —Huffduffed by bramhubbell

  7. Pedro Machado, “Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa, and the Indian Ocean, c.1750-1850” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

    Pedro MachadoView on AmazonPedro Machado's Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa and the Indian Ocean, c.1750-1850 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) is a richly detailed and engaging account of Gujarati merchants and their role in the trade of textiles, ivory and […]

    —Huffduffed by bramhubbell

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