“Sustaining Hereditary Knowledge of South Indian Frame Drummers through Digital Music-Mapping.”


ACLS Digital Justice Seed Grants


Loyola Institute of Business Administration


We propose to plan a collaborative digital justice music-mapping project focused on the parai frame drum of the Dalits (former “outcastes”) of Tamil Nadu, India. This project addresses disparities in media platform access for musical expression by oppressed hereditary musicians, enabling better control over the understanding, documentation, and transmission of their knowledge. Diasporic appropriation of the parai drum by privileged-caste Tamils, excluding hereditary drummers in transmission, threatens a comprehensive understanding of the art, its diverse practices, and rightful attribution to its originators. Our map redresses these issues by sustaining the art’s diversity, supporting creative resilience, and contributing participatory knowledge creation to oppose global casteism.