Upcoming Fall Residency

The UW–Madison Division of the Arts welcomes Arun Luthra as the Fall 2021 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence. During his residency, Luthra will examine rhythm as a phenomenon in the natural world, colonialism, and diaspora as reflected in music. In the course “The Universal Language of Rhythm: Explorations Through Konnakol and Black American Music,” students will be introduced to konnakol, the Carnatic (South Indian classical music) art form of vocalizing rhythms and explore its blending with other musical traditions.

The Fall 2021 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence Teaching Program is presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts and hosted by the Mead Witter School of Music with Professor Johannes Wallmann as lead faculty. Co-sponsors include the Center for South Asia, the Department of Anthropology, and the Wisconsin Union Theater along with the Arts + Literature Laboratory.

Composer and saxophonist Arun Luthra is an American musician of Indian heritage who fuses modern post-bop jazz with elements of Indian classical music – especially konnakol (South Indian classical music vocal percussion) – and connects a wide range of modern and classic and Eastern and Western musical influences to create a vibrant new sound and style.

He is the leader of the Konnakol Jazz Project and has studied and performed with notable Hindustani and Carnatic music masters. Luthra has also shared the stage and recorded with many of the greatest jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and pop artists.

The Universal Language of Rhythm: Explorations Through Konnakol and Black American Music

Course: Music 497, Sec 096 (3 cr)
Day/Time: Mon & Wed / 4:00 – 5:15 p.m.
Credits: 3 | Counts toward certificate and major requirements through Music and Center for South Asia*
Location: 2441 Humanities Building | 455 N. Park St.
Prereq: None; no prior formal music study necessary
Download the course flyer (PDF).

Description: This course will be an introduction to konnakol – the Carnatic (South Indian classical) music discipline of vocalizing rhythms. Students will learn konnakol and explore the universality of rhythm through science, history, politics, and more. Blending konnakol with other musical traditions, particularly Black American Music, will also be examined, and students will present creative works that incorporate konnakol concepts into creative projects ranging from music to poetry, prose, dance, scholarly papers, and beyond.

The course will consist of a weekly konnakol lesson/practice session and a weekly lecture/discussion. The lecture/discussion will explore rhythm’s connections to science, history, politics, etc., and the parallels between the developments of Indian musics and Black American Music within the political, social, and economic systems of the United States and of colonialism generally.

*This course counts towards the degree requirements of the B.M. in Performance (jazz studies track) and the undergraduate Center for South Asia’s certificate and Foreign Language and Area Studies.

Arun Luthra Virtual Meet & Greet

Date: Friday, April 16
Time: 5:00 p.m. CDT

Meet fall 2021 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence Arun Luthra via Zoom and learn more about konnakol and his upcoming residency including the course, events, and proposed guest artists.