Vivek Virani

Vivek Virani - In Performance

Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology and Music Theory


Music History, Theory and Ethnomusicology

Contact Information

Office Location: 
Music Building
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Vivek Virani’s research explores connections between music and spirituality in diverse religious and cultural traditions, with a particular focus on religious music's role in the constructions of community, nation, and self. His current book project explores how songs of Kabir and other poet-saints are used to negotiate issues of culture, religion, and society at the regional and national levels in India. He is also engaged in a theoretical project developing new analytical paradigms for North Indian tabla solo composition and improvisation.

The Society for Asian music recognized Vivek with the Martin D. Hatch prize for the best student paper related to Asian Music presented at the 2015 meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Recently, Vivek contributed a chapter on altered states of consciousness in classical tabla compositions to the volume Music and Consciousness 2 (Oxford University Press, 2019) and a chapter on caste-discrimination reform through devotional singing to the volume Songs of Social Protest: International Perspectives (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018).

Vivek is also a versatile performer. He regularly performs interfaith bhajan, kirtan, qawwali and other spiritual songs in a mix of traditional and contemporary styles. He has trained intensively in Hindustani classical tabla under world masters Pandit Suresh Talwalkar and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and is adept on many global percussion instruments. He has trained in bansuri (bamboo flute) under Radha Prasad and is currently training in Dhrupad vocal under the Gundecha Brothers. He recently contributed to the soundtrack of the Cannes festival-winning film The Cinema Travelers, in which he played 8 instruments in addition to providing vocals.