Figure 6.1 The Kandy Perahera, Ceylon, c. 1900. Two dancers are visible, lower right; drummers trail the elephants.
Colonial Governmentality and Expressive Culture The colonial theatre was an important forum for the emergence of European musical modernity. At the very least, a musicological analysis of the colonial encounter makes available certain base assumptions embedded in European musical modernity that are less noticeable when the musicological lens is focused solely on Europe. Far from a clash of aesthetic civilizations, the colonial theatre mandated strategies of navigation between competing ontologies of sound. The maintenance of native musical traditions became a problem, however, when they appeared to threaten public order. Religious processions and festivals, for example, were key sites for the emergence of colonized religious communities in the public sphere; when the sounds of such festivities appeared unruly, overly noisy and disruptive to public order, the colonial authorities sought to regulate them. Thus an important avenue for the navigation between ontologies of sound in the colonial theatre – perhaps the one that comes down to us as the most visible record of aesthetic debates between colonizer and colonized – is the legal debates that occurred on the regulation of native religious practices in public space.