Voices from the past

Audio delight

Voices from the past

City-based author and historian Vikram Sampath’s effort to archive voices that lie buried in the past has fascinated those visiting his audio exhibition of vintage recordings, called ‘Voices of India’, which is being held at Alliance Francaise. 

Ten thousand plus recordings have been converted into a digital format by the curator and the exhibition has profiled the voices of 45 artistes as well as leaders. 

The exhibition will be on till May 17. From the famous speech of Subhash Chandra Bose addressing the countrymen to the jugalbandi between Mysore T Chowdaiah and  T R Mahalingam, the archive has recordings related to music, theatre, speech and poetry.

Rabindranath Tagore’s recital of his poem Proshno is a surprise for many, who might never have heard him recite his own creation. 

The original composition of the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, which has extra verses, is also spellbinding. There are also recordings of artistes like M S Subbulakshmi and G N Balasubramaniam, who sings a masterful alpana in his favourite raga thodi and proceeds to sing a composition called Amba Naadu Vinnapamu Vini. 

Bangalore Nagarathnamma’s Sanskrit shlokas and virutthams, along with raga alapanas that she recorded for a gramophone company, are a treat for music lovers.

The stalwart of Kirana Gharana, Gangubai Hangal’s tarana in raga kamod is mesmerising. A range of thumri, kajri classical renditions and popular songs like Jhumka Gira Re by Dulari are a part of this collection.

The popular singer from Kolkata, Guhar Jaan, who rendered the evergreen dadra, Aan Baan Jiya Mein Laagi, is one of the classics that can be enjoyed — it is impossible to miss her signature  style as she announces, “My name is Gauhar Jaan”. The collection boasts of a unique composition by Sachin Dev Burman, a Bengali folk number called Bashi Shune Aar Kaaj Nai. Janki Bai’s kajri, Gajra Goontheri Maaliniya, brings in the flavour of Allahabad and transports one to a different era. 

Sushila’s rendition of a beautiful geet, Geega, Ghadi Ek Soja Re, is a plea by a harried mother asking her baby to sleep. 

The audio exhibition attracted many who were interested in listening to voices of these renowned artistes and leaders. 

“I am fascinated and pretty impressed with the number of artistes that have been archived. The voices of some of the most popular artistes from across the country have been featured — it is a treasure trove with some precious jewels. I will definitely ask more people to listen to these recordings,” says Lakshmi, a visitor.

Many others were seen going around reading the descriptions which had been put up. K Aiyappa, a visitor, enjoyed the experience. “I appreciate the work that has been done. I have only read about these people but today, I got to hear them,” he says.

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