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Balakrishnan Raghavan

PhD Student in Cross-Cultural Musicology

Balakrishnan Raghavan is an accomplished musician, researcher, and educator. He is a doctoral student in cross-cultural musicology at the University of California Santa Cruz. Bala’s work focuses on oral traditions of music across the Indian subcontinent, with an emphasis on the politics of spirituality, sacred songs, South Asian performing traditions, mystical traditions, caste, gender, and sexuality. He is a STEM-trained computer science engineer as an undergraduate, and an Arts/Humanities/Social Science trained doctoral student. Bala trained for over twenty years in traditional vocal music, including a two-year-long immersive discipleship with South Indian Classical musician Dr.R.Vedavalli and fifteenth-century mystic poet-saint Kabir’s philosophy and songs from Shri.Prahlad Tipaniya. With over ten years of interdisciplinary performance experience, he attempts to re-imagine the many ways of looking at traditional music from India, centering the marginalized experience at the intersection of song, immigration, race, sexuality, personal narrative, transnational experience, and performance.

Research Interests: 

South Indian Classical Music, Spiritual Music traditions, Gender and Sexuality, Performance Studies, Politics of Spirituality, Caste, Immigration, South Asia, Poetry, and Translation.

Musical Education:

1999 - South Indian Classical Vocal Music. Dr. R. Vedavalli (2014 onwards), Smt. Vani Satheesh (2013-2015), Prof.     Radhika Vathsan (2010-2012), Shri J. Venkatraman (2009), Smt. Bhanu Kannan (1999-2008)
2015 - 2022 Music of the Mystics from India, Shri Prahlad Singh Tipaniya.
2010 - 2011 South Indian Classical Veena, Prof. Radhika Vathsan.

Selected Publications: 

2020 Raghavan, B. (2020). Engaging with the idea of a gurukulam in the 21st century. The Finnish Journal of Music Education, 23(1-2), 106-115.
2020 Raghavan, B. & Kuppuswamy C. (2020). Sampoorna rasa in Trinity compositions for dance. Contribution of Trinity, Central University of Tamilnadu, Thiruvarur, First Edition 2020, pp.30-42; ISBN: 978-93-5407-985-6.

News media and magazine articles
2019 “Applause in the Indian context.” Sruti Magazine Chennai, December 2019, Issue 423, pp. 68-69
2018 “I am the Kintsugi.” Anthology of poems on ‘Surviving child sexual abuse.’ Muktha Foundation, Bangalore, India, pp. 38-44
2017 Selection of Poems. Write Out Loud, The official poetry folio of Lahe Lahe, Volume 1, Issue 1, Bangalore, India, pp.62-67

Honors and Awards: 

2022 Arts Dean's Fund for Equity and Excellence, UC Santa Cruz.
2022 BITS Global 30 Under 30 Award, BITS Pilani, University.
2022 Dean’s Arts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant, UC Santa Cruz.
2021 Regent’s Fellowship, University of California, Santa Cruz.
2020 Art Omi Music Fellowship, Upstate New York
2020 Flow Fund, Santok Trust, for Independent Artistic work.

Education and Training: 
2021, Ph.D. in Cross-Cultural Musicology, University of California, Santa Cruz (In Progress). Advisor: Professor Dard Neuman.
2020, Certificate Course in Manuscriptology, Savitribai Phule Pune University.
Lower Diploma in Sanskrit, Savitribai Phule Pune University.
2016, Certificate Course in Karnatik Music, University of Madras.
2012, Bachelor of Engineering with Honors in Computer Science, BITS Pilani
Teaching Interests: 

Indian Music 

World Music

Women in Music

South Asian Literature