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Tagore Songs of Love and DestinyConcerts :
Songs of Love and Destiny: the Danielou Collection of
Tagore’s songs
Francesca Cassio voice, Ugo Bonessi piano.
22nd December: NEW DELHI at India International Centre, 6.00 pm
24th December: MUMBAI at Mood Indigo Festival, IIT Campus 6.00 pm
27th December: KOLKATA, Tagore Centre, 6.00 pm
29th December: DHAKA (Bangladesh), Italian Embassy,6.00 pm

Francesca Cassio voice - Ugo Bonessi piano

Thaindian News :
Italian singer adds new facet to Rabindra Sangeet

« New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s music transcends geography and culture. For Italian singer Francesca Cassio, a blue-blooded Roman, it is both a passion and vocation.Cassio received a resounding ovation at the India International Centre Tuesday evening for her rendition of Tagore’s songs, Rabindra Sangeet, in English. She sang to a packed house accompanied by pianist Ugo Bonessi.
Cassio, who grew up listening to her family playing the grand piano, fell in love with Tagore, his poetry and his music at the age of 15.

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Rabindranath TagoreRabindranath Tagore often used to say that his songs would live in Bengal long after his name and his writing were forgotten. Although it is difficult to believe that the literary achievements of this great Bengali poet might one day be forgotten, today we see that his literary works are already considered as classics _ that is, belonging to the past _, while his songs, sung by everyone in every part of Bengal, belong to the eternal present. During the nineteenth century, Indian classical music in Bengal developed in many ways an over-refined technique, performed only by highly trained specialists and fully appreciated only by a select audience. The musical form from created by Tagore maintains the essential features of the classical Indian system of music, but brings its rare power of expression within reach of all. Tagore was always deeply moved by the human predicament. His songs, with their simple but vigorous melodies, have given voice, expression, to the feelings of millions of men and women. These songs can be heard everywhere, in wealthy city home, in lonely rice fields, on the rivers or in the fishermen’s huts, in the village street or the university hall. Their ringing words know no difference of creed, race, caste or age. Within a few years, Tagore’s music conquered the whole of Bengal and still pervades the rhythms of everyday life with evercherished melodies. Today, Hindu India and Muslim Bangladesh have both chosen songs by Tagore as their national anthems.

Photo de Christian Braut
© Christian Braut

by Jacques Dudon

by the Ensemble de Musique Microtonale du Thoronet
World Creation at the Abbaye du Thoronet, Saturday 22 September 2007
Unabridged version (91′)
A film by Rémi Legenne

Semantic Works is a Western tribute to the non-European music and musicological work of Alain Daniélou.
On the occasion of his one hundredth birthday of Alain Daniélou (1907-1994), and for the first time in a concert, the public heard the Daniélou Semantic, a microtonal instrument with 36 tones
per octave, created by Michel Geiss and Christian Braut with the assistance of Philippe Monsire and Jean-Claude Dubois, according to the theories set forth in Alain Daniélouʼs work “Sémantique musicale”. Of mainly Indian inspiration, associated with the mystery and sensuality of the ragas, Semantic Works covers the whole range of human emotion, the atmosphere becoming in turn contemplative, exalted or simply joyful, with passing reference to the sacred music of the Sufis, Celts, of the mediaeval period, Amerindian, Persian or Indonesian. The gestures, patterns, dance and occasional sounds of the calligraphic artist working on his wheel at the very centre of the stage, impregnated with emulsified clay, become the instantaneous mirror of the harmonies and improvisations produced by the four EMMT performers.
The flashes of the harmonic colours of the sitar, the chandravina, the Daniélou Semantic and the vocal rendering, projected by the vaulting of the Abbey Church, the spurting forms of the clay, convey us to the secret dimensions of being, where all paradoxes are reconciled in an inner silence.

Photo de Christian Braut
© Christian Braut

Jacques Dudon: chandravina, microtonal guitar, Daniélou Semantic, vocal;
Alain Pantéléimonoff: sitar, multitonal banjo;
Éric Barthes: mediaeval dulcimer, chimes, Daniélou Semantic, udu;
Elisa Rucci: Daniélou Semantic, vocal;
Thierry Hamy: clay calligraphy


Creation realised with the partnership and collaboration of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, Spedidam, the Région Provence-Alpes-Côte dʼAzur, the Conseil Général du Var, the Abbaye and Township of Thoronet, the Township of Arcs-sur-Argens, the Alain Daniélou Cultural Centre — Harsharan Foundation.
Production: Atelier dʼExploration Harmonique — Hameau des Camails – 83340 LE THORONET +33-4 94 73 87 78

The DVD is available on request c/o the AEH.


NamarupaIssue 10 Volume 04 (October 09) is ready to read. Log in to your online account to download.
Go to:
Publishers & Founding
Editors: Robert Moses &
Eddie Stern.

We decided to publish two interesting and juxtaposing articles on religious imagery in India.
RELIGIOUS ART: Reprint from The Visva- Bharati Quartely, May-July 1949.
Alain Daniélou
Siddarth V. Shah

North Point Press, 2009
Reviewed by Rebecca Weisman.

Archive of the Alain Daniélou Library at the Cini Foundation in Venice

Professor Giovanni Giuriati, of Rome University “La Sapienza”, Director of the Institute created by Alain Daniélou in Venice, writes (25 July 2009)

….I wish to take this opportunity to share with you the developments in work on the Daniélou Bequest carried out since I was put in charge of it, about one year ago.

After an initial visit last year, at my invitation, Prof. Koch of the Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Leiter der Abteilung Musiktechnologie, was made aware of the value of the Bequest and provided us with a rough estimate of the content and what should be done. During the year, I appointed a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology, Valentina Brandazza, who is fluent in Sanskrit and Pali, as well as her musical knowledge, asking her to draft an initial inventory of the bequest in its entirety, meaning both the cards and the manuscripts. This work has also involved the Foundation’s librarians and part of the general secretary pool, reawakening within the Cini Foundation, an interest in this precious legacy. We are still ‘in the middle of the ford’, but several things have been achieved and everything allows us to be optimistic about the future. This, at least, is our intention.

I will give you a very short summary.

1) One of the first questions concerns the preservation of the documents. The lady in charge of library services, Dr. Sardo, is working on the preservation of the 300,000 cards. She is preparing special cardboard boxes for their preservation, placing a sheet of tissue paper between the cards so as to protect them. We have also begun tackling the problem of the manuscripts, some of which are starting to show signs of age and also need appropriate restoration and preservation.

2) Valentina Brandazza, who has been to Venice several times and has worked with the librarian of the ‘Venice and the Orient’ Institute, Ms. Carla Bonò, is going ahead with the summary cataloguing of the 423 manuscripts, based on previous incomplete attempts at cataloguing, taking each manuscript and cataloguing it according to the criteria used by the system for the Cini Foundation libraries, with variations made necessary by the specific nature of the material. This updated inventory-catalogue should be ready by the end of the autumn.

3) We are in contact with Prof. Koch with regard to the development of common projects, including the

Berlin Phonogramm Archiv, which, as you know, has just acquired all the sound material on tape from the Berlin Comparative Music Institute, kept at Bamberg.

In short, this is a brief update on the situation. For the Cini Foundation, the main aim of this work is to make the Daniélou Bequest available to scholars, coming to the Isola di S. Giorgio to work on this precious material, to those interested in Indian music and, more generally, philosophy, religion, and the history of thought on the Indian subcontinent, and to continue the monumental work of study, research and documentation begun by Alain Daniélou.


A the approach of the 16th birthday of the death of Alain Danielou (January 27th, 1994) here is the article of James Kirkup published in The Independant 4 February on 1994.

Alain Danielou (Shiva Sharan), musicologist and oriental scholar: born Neuilly-sur-Seine 4 October 1907, died in Lonay, Switzerland 27 January 1994.

Alain Danielou was a man whose vast and curious learning in the fields of literature, music and the Orient was unequalled in our time.

I first became acquainted with Danielou through a medium we both despised – television. He appeared in 1981 on one of Bernard Pivot’s now defunct book programmes to discuss the first edition of his autobiography Le Chemin du Labyrinthe. The general title of the discussion was ‘Good and Evil’ and it was a fascinating expose of widely differing beliefs that in the end, through the charmed elegance of Danielou’s presentation, reconciled him with the other redoubtable intellects on the set, who included George Steiner and Anthony Burgess, both in top form.

I bought the book (a new, enlarged and illustrated edition appeared last May from Editions du Rocher) and at once fell under his spell.

Alain Danielou’s Breton father was a noted anticlerical and a minister in the Third Republic, while his mother, a grande dame, was devout to the point of being called a fanatique by that most tolerant of her fellow-religionists, Julien Green. She founded schools and the Order of Sainte-Marie. Alain’s brother was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI.

Danielou was educated at the Institution de Sainte-Croix, Neuilly-sur- Seine, and at St John’s College, Annapolis. He was soon in revolt against his mother’s excessive religiosity, but his father was instrumental in developing his musical gifts. He studied piano and singing, and mastered the songs of Duparc and Chausson and the Lieder of Schumann and Schubert. He wrote poems, became fluent in English and the major European languages, and practised translation. He loved to dance, and studied with Nijinski and Legat until he was good enough to appear professionally with the Romanian dancer Floria Capsali and Marjorie Daw, a brilliant English technician with whom he danced in music halls and at the Palais d’été in Brussels. Among his friends in the ballet he counted Karsavina, Rolf de Mare, Mary Wigan, Balanchine, Nicolas Nabokov, Georges Auric and Francis Poulenc. But gradually Danielou abandoned the dance for more serious matters.

In 1932 he travelled to India, where he met one of the great influences on his life and thought, the poet Rabindranath Tagore. India was a revelation to the young Parisian dandy – ‘Real civilisation, the source of everything that helps one to understand the cultures of the Orient’. He entered Benares University in 1935, where he studied Hindu music, Sanskrit, Indian philosophy and Hindu religion for the next 15 years, during which time he was appointed research professor, a post he held until 1953. He became a professional performer on the vina. He moved to Madras to become director of a centre of research into Sanskrit literature at the Adyar Library until 1956. From 1959, he became a Member of the French Institute of Indology at Pondicherry. On returning to Europe, from 1960 he was adviser to Unesco’s International Music Council, then founder and director of the International Institute of Contemporary Music in Berlin from 1963 to 1977, and of the Istituto Internazionale di Musica Comparata in Venice (1969-82).

While in Benares, Danielou converted to Hinduism, taking the initiate’s name of Shiva Sharan. He was a great teacher, but his main work was in translation of texts on religion and music, and the composition of major works such as Mythes, et Dieux de l’Inde (1993), Les Quatre sens de la vie (recently translated as The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India), Le Bétail des Dieux (1983), La Sculpture érotique hindou with photographs by his companion the Swiss photographer Raymond Burier (1973) and La Musique de l’Inde du Nord (1985). In 1993, Editions Pardes published the remarkable study of Le Phallus, the best short account of the turbulent history of this essential organ. His Dix-huit chansons de Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali text with English and French translations, musical notation and accompaniments for piano all by Danielou, will appear later this year. Meanwhile, we have Le Mystère du culte du linga (1993).

Danielou was supposed to be present to sign copies, but he was already too ill to attend.

Danielou’s new and complete translation of the Kama Sutra is one of his great masterpieces. It comprises the Sanskrit text of Vatsyayana from the fourth century with the medieval commentaries by Yashodhara and part of a contemporary commentary by Davadatta Shastri. Vatsyayana had compiled texts written at a time when the Kama Sutra was taught to deserving children, who were not supposed to practise their expertise until they were 16. It provides a moral code for erotic practices addressed to men and women in the interests of social order. We are introduced to the 52 types of lovers, including lesbians and male homosexuals (‘the third sex’), to intimate and abstruse anatomical details, to the 10 kinds of love-bites, and a list of men to be sexually avoided or of women who are to be had without difficulty. It is often Machiavellian in its advice: ‘Each individual should employ those means which best serve his own interests.’

It was Danielou who stopped Gandhi destroying erotic temple statues and who was rebuked by Nehru who accused him of being interested only in those things India’s new puritanism sought to eradicate when Danielou published his book of magnificent photographs of sacred sculptures proving homosexuality was not some infamous occidental import. And Danielou caused a scandal when he claimed that it was the British memsahib who caused Britain to lose the Empire by interfering with the native sexual customs enjoyed by Westerners before their women made the passage to India.

His beautifully written works, totally free of pedantic jargon, and never afraid to call a spade a spade, remain to console us on our increasingly barbaric continent. Our debt to Alain Danielou’s scholarship and deep humanity is immeasurable.


Le tour du monde 1936 - Alain Daniélou“How much is a world tour?” Coupled with the prospect of such an improbable trip, this banal question immerses the reader in a world of pure fiction. Nevertheless, it is in actual fact the story of his world tour in 1936 that Alain Daniélou tells us, in an efficacious and simple style, illustrating the spirit of the two travellers. Free as air in both thought and deed, the two young men, Alain Daniélou and Raymond Burnier, crossed in turn the United States, Japan, China and India, before making their way back to Europe.
Avoiding complacency and with evident respect and fascination, Daniélou brings us a glimpse of the peoples, monuments and landscapes he discovers. This world tour is indeed a “panegyric of differences, expressing the richness of knowledge of all peoples, whose only equality lies in their beauty. On this theme, Daniélou was to become the defender of colonised peoples whose language and culture are oppressed by more powerful economies. This led him to paint a vitriolic picture of the USA, as also of European tourists and colonists in Asia.
The detached and aristocratic attitude of the two men gives them a sometimes disdainful view of the “masses”, of whatever origin, but is never insulting nor unwarranted with regard to the inhabitants of the countries they travel through. The profound admiration shown by Daniélou for the Orient foreshadows his future sojourn in India, where he was to spend more than twenty years. Leaving aside any prophetic dimension, this tale, written during that troubled period between the two wars, when the French were almost totally in favour of holding onto their colonies, emphasizes the ill-fated weaknesses and dysfunctions of the Christian West.
Eager for encounters, discoveries and beauty, Daniélou was to return to Europe with the desire to pursue his oriental peregrinations:

Deep down, for foreigners such as we have become, this western life seems hostile and superficial; and, when the sun rises mistily over the green forest of deserted avenues, we feel an obscure desire for far-off things: when are we leaving?’

The Tour du monde en 1936 by Alain Daniélou has something in common with an unbridled travel journal, in which the art of caricature is blended with a great deal of intuition. Le Monde, October 1987.

Anne Prunet et Marie- Laure Bruker Alain Daniélou, Catalogue des œuvres, le parcours multiple.


The complete kama sutraSite :
concerning the publisher Ehud Sperling from Inner Traditions International
Europe was a regular source of substantive material for Inner Traditions. During one of his trips to Paris, Ehud was introduced to the great orientalist Alain Daniélou. They immediately struck up a close association, and Inner Traditions became Alainʼs primary English-language publisher for the rest of his life. Days before he passed on in 1994, he received a copy just off the press of his last work published by Inner Traditions, The Complete Kama Sutra, considered the best translation of this classic of world literature.

Alain Daniélouʼs Kama Sutra joined what is the most extensive list of titles on sacred sexuality and Oriental sexual practices in the world.