Songs from behind the curtain: the influence of palace women on Hindustani music

On 20 October we were delighted to host a lecture by Dr Richard Williams, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. Dr Williams’ lecture, part of our Fresh Perspectives Series, was titled “Songs from behind the curtain: the influence of palace women on Hindustani music”. This hugely educational and engaging lecture gave the audience fascinating insights into the role of women in the development of music in elite environments in nineteenth-century India; and how this influenced the development of popular music in the period when distribution of commercial recordings began. The lecture was followed by a lively discussion and a drinks reception.

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Dr Richard Williams addresses the audience
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RAS Director Dr Alison Ohta introduces Dr Williams

Please join us for our next lecture at 6pm on 12 November, when Dr. Ben Outhwaite (University of Cambridge) will address us on “Lewis, Gibson and the Discovery of the Cairo Genizah”. This will be followed with an event at 6.30pm on 17 November—the next in our Fresh Perspectives Series—when Azadeh Fatehrad (Royal College of Art) will introduce “An Evening with Nizami.” We hope that you will be able to join us for these events. Before then, readers may also be interested in the lecture “‘Nothing Succeeds Like Excess’: Princely Magnificence and an Ottoman Gift to Nadir Shah Afshar”, to be delivered by Prof. J.M. Rogers on 29 October. The lecture will be held at 5.30 pm in the Nihon Room at Pembroke College, Cambridge. More information is available here: