Sunday, March 14, 2010
Women on Record
A Multi-Media Touring Show
Seminar 29th-30th March, 2010
Performance 2nd-3rd of April, 2010
IGNCA, New Delhi
Women in the 78 RPM Gramophone era have made a significant contribution to Indian Art music, and literature, and by their involvement in theatre and film. They have had a profound influence on subsequent performance music.
Ironically there is little that is available in the public memory about the Gaanewali’s, and also not in books on Indian music. This is legacy that has largely been preserved through the gramophone records that first made their appearance in India in the first decade of the 20th century.
The advent of sound recording in India had far-reaching social and musical effects, disseminating various genres of music to a mass audience for the first time. In the early 20th Century it is perhaps the first fascinating encounter between technology and music. The vocalists took on the challenge presented by this new technology – of presenting their work in approximately 3 minutes, this given the innately improvisatory nature of Indian music. Collectors estimate that the number of records issued in India would amount to about half a million – a large corpus of which remains unheard of and inaccessible to contemporary audiences.
Women on Record is a multi-media project that combines newer technologies with contemporary art practices in collaboration with artist communities traversing across film, photography, scenography, dance, theatre and music.
It combines different art practices with the idea of recreating an environment and mood of the gramophone era. The idea of reviving interest in the immense contributions made by these artists in the late 19th and early 20th century lends itself to immense visual possibilities given that their lives were about music, theatre, film and overall entertainment.
The Exhibition: This traveling show is an overview of the women who sang in the gramophone era, of the technology that evolved in the 1st half of the 20th century and the impact of these changes on the world of Indian music
The Video walk through: Through a series of interviews with artists, collectors and connoisseurs, some of whom even witnessed some of these soirees, CMAC creates another world of stories and experiences through the vibrant world of archives
Live Performance: A scripted performance involving narration, visuals and a concert to walk the audience through and experience the time and the challenges of women singers as well as their sense of enterprise including the diverse repertoire they brought into Indian music.
Seminar/Workshop: involving artists, historians, musicologists, film makers, art and media institutions to disseminate and discuss the products, the issues and the ideas that arise from the project. The seminar will focus on the role and status of women professionals in the entertainment industry today. It will attempt to trace the role of technology in overcoming the gendered barriers that women have faced over centuries in the Indian subcontinent.