Why Carnatic Music?

As a Westerner interested in Carnatic music, I am frequently asked to explain my interest and to articulate what makes South Indian music special. Both Indians and Westerners ask the same questions. Since I did not grow up with it, but rather chose it for myself from among a broad range of world traditions, Carnatic music is special indeed. There is always a sense in which cross-cultural interactions serve not only to broaden one's horizons, but also to set one's own cultural identity more strongly in relief.