SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Vayu Naidu

  • Overview
  • Teaching



Dr.Vayu Naidu’s work with street storytelling in India and concert performance internationally celebrates 25 years of study in Indic and world oral traditions.

As an AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) Post Doctoral Creative and Performing Arts Fellow in the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury, I consolidated a method of collating selected oral literatures in genealogically traditional performance, where musical instruments are used as accompaniment, as well as existing practitioners in contemporary variations. These included the Baul of Bengal Samrat Purna Dass, Pandvani of Madhya Pradesh, Icelandic Yoickers, Sami of Sweden and a Kora-playing Griot from Gambia, among others. Also part of this collection were audio archives I recorded of Tamil sea shanties sung by fisherfolk affected by the 2004 tsunami. Vayu Naidu Intercultural Storytelling Company (Arts Council funded 2004-2012) offered research and interdisciplinary explorations.

Collaborations include Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, BCMG, composer Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music), Sarvar Sabri, Sonia Sabri, Dr.Mukulika Banerjee, Marina Warner, Louise Doughty, and Orphy Robinson (Blue Note), and Prof. Francesca Orisini who value the resonance of story.

Selected plays and productions: Triumph of Light – Vayu Ramayana (Barbican, Lowry, kiskikahani – Pune); South UK tour; Bhakti & the Blues (Edinburgh Festival , Kings Place); Divine Divas & Being Brit (South Bank Centre); Hanuman (Wellcome Foundation); Arabian Nights (British Academy); BBC Radio 4 Drama When; Guess who’s coming to Christmas?; There comes a Karma;Bagri Foundation, UCL/SOAS, British Library, V&A, Hamzanama; Devi; Prisms of Love – forthcoming: Spring in the Season of Love (Brunei Auditorium 6 April 2016).

Novels: Sita’s Ascent – nominated for Commonwealth Book award, India (Penguin 2013); Forthcoming: The Subaltern Sari (Speaking Tiger Books, 2016); Vayu’s new story of curating historic north and coastal south.

PhD Research

Historical research methods for fiction and creating text from crossing borders with oral traditions. Science and myths.