Getting louder: music, “feedback loops” and social change in the Tamil transnational music scene

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This article explores the “feedback loops” that constitute the Tamil transnational music scene. Comprising of musical, social, economic and political networks between South India, Sri Lanka and their diasporas, I consider how new music production loops around to highlight the multiplicity and fluidity of the scene. Having been built on practices of carnatic, devotional, folk, Kollywood music, hip-hop and R&B, these feedback loops are entangled in politics of belonging. Social hierarchies are being resisted, but also reiterated, by second-generation diasporic and South Asia-based artists through their creative practice. This article examines feedback loops that amplify issues such as casteism and ethnic violence through the rise of Tamil transnational independent music. While these feedback loops are strengthening the economy of cross-border music-making and have the potential for social change, the multidirectional loops also have the potential to reproduce the hierarchies that they have the intention to change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-415
Number of pages18
JournalCultural Trends
Issue number4
Early online date24 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

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