Ref. Code : CMSI-AL-MV-001 - Kerala the Cradle of Christianity in South Asia The Cultural Interface of Religion and Music - (DVD)



the Cradle of Christianity

in South Asia

The Cultural Interface of Religion and Music - (DVD)

To purchase copies, please click here.

CMSI Ref Number CMSI-AL-MV-001
Title Kerala, the Cradle of Christianity in South Asia: The Cultural Interface of Religion and Music (DVD)
Category Documentary

1 Digital Video Disc (DVD) ; English / 34 minutes
Available in PAL and NTSC formats.

Script & Narration Joseph J. Palackal
Screenplay, cinematography & direction: Jain Joseph FTII
Title music & background score: John P. Varkey
Produced by:

Christian Musicological Society of India (CMSI)

In collaboration with

Additional Details Research consultants: A. Mathias Mundadan, CMI, and George Menachery.
Copyright: © 2008 Joseph J. Palackal
Short Abstract
Detailed Abstract
Sample cuttings on
Internet movie database
Invitation for the release ceremony
Speech on the occasion by Joseph J. Palackal
Item Description

The six million Christians in Kerala, on the southwest coast of India, follow a variety of liturgical and musical traditions some of which date back to the early Christian era. This film explores the historical embeddedness of these traditions that came about as a result of the region's commercial, cultural, and religious interactions with the Middle East, Europe, and America.

The narrative follows the events that led to the introduction of the Chaldean, Antiochene, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other liturgies along with the musical styles associated with them. Over the centuries, these styles have become an integral part of the musical mosaic of Kerala. A renewed attempt in the recent past to interpret Christianity in Indian terms has contributed to adaptations of semi-classical and bhajan styles of music into Christian worship. The film documents excerpts from the current practice of chants in East Syriac, West Syriac, Latin, Sanskrit, English, and Malayalam. The film also showcases a unique performance context in which Hindu instrumental ensembles share space in a church festival, indicating the extent of religious harmony that exists in the region; the festival includes several ritual elements that the Portuguese missionaries introduced in the sixteenth century.

Drawing attention to the lesser known aspects of the religious, musical, and linguistic complexity of the region, the film presents Kerala as a potential field for inquiries in an emerging area of scholarship on Christian music in India.

Film Release The film was released on Aug 2, 2008 at Kerala House in Delhi. The Department of Tourism of the Government of Kerala organized the function. Mr. Amit Kant I. A. S. received the first copy of the DVD from Honorable Cyriac Joseph, Justice of the Supreme Court of India. Picture Event Invitation
Reviews Fr. Mark Woodruff, Vice Chairman, Society of St. John Chrysostom, London. 16 October 2013. PDF
Review by Alain Godbout, Nova Scotia, Canada, Email dated 15 May 2013.
Holly Tsang: 'East meets West', Queens Ledger, 17 November 2009. PDF
Joy Lukose, Malayalam Pathram (New York), vol. 10, no. 40 (14 October 2009), p. 12.
Screening Schedule
  1. Oct 30, 2010 - Pope John Paul II Cultural Centre, Washington D. C., USA.
  2. Mar 16, 2010: - Pontifico Instituto Orientale, Piazza S. Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy.
  3. Mar 14, 2010- Chiesa di Villa Benedetta (Suore di Giovanni Battista), Via Circonvalazione Cornelia 65, Rome, Italy.
  4. Mar 13, 2010:- Chiesa di S. Caterina della Rosa, (Syro-Malabar), Via Michelangelo Caetani 8/9, Rome, Italy.
  5. Nov 14, 2009- 7th at Queens film festival, Bennett Hall, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Astoria, New York, USA. [Nominated for the best international documentary film award ] IMDb Archive link (updated on 16-10-2018)
  6. Oct 29, 2009- `Musical Heritage: Movement and Contacts conference', Faculté de musique, Université de Montréal, Canada.
  7. Aug 9, 2009- Nuremberg, Germany.
  8. Aug 3, 2009: Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.
  9. Apr 16, 2009: St. Mary's Church, Sacramento, California, USA.
  10. Nov 20, 2008: `India and the World', Amsterdam University, Netherlands.
  11. Nov 1, 2008: `South Asian Imaginaries: A Symposium on Art, Film and Music', Teachers College, Columbia University, USA. Poster. Postcard.
  12. Oct 25, 2008. Society for Ethnomusicology 53rd Annual Meeting, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, USA.
DVD Track samples Part 0I | Part 02 | Part 03 | Part 04 | Part 05 | Part 06 | Part 07 | Part 08 | Part 09 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15

To purchase copies, please click here.

Copyright: Christian Musicological Society of India. Do not use any part of this article without prior written permission from the Christian Musicological Society of India. For permission please send request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.