In an era when music is based on electronically-generated soundscapes, a young social entrepreneur, Abhinav Agrawal started the Anahad Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that works towards recording, preserving, documenting and consolidating the available knowledge of the evolution of Indian tribal folk music.
Folk music is an indelible part of India’s storied oral tradition. Songs emanating from the tribal folk tradition are critical fragments of this country’s vast cultural diversity. Based on simple instruments and arrangements, articulated by voices of the soil, and set across different geographical locations and cultural contexts, these songs are a celebration of nature and the human condition.
The team behind executing this vision also includes Shuchi Roy, an experienced lawyer dealing with copyright issues and managing the organisation’s operations, and Satyam Sangwan, who deals with the technical and post-production process. Follow Spotlife Asia for the latest news and updates.
Abhinav says that without avenues for recording, storing and establishing a digital identity for these folk artists, their work continues to suffer from myriad environmental, social and economic factors. He cites rising urbanization of areas in certain parts of Rajasthan, and the growing sense of detachment it creates among local communities, as a factor that has come to threaten these precious cultural artifacts.
Although the organisation is based out of New Delhi, the foundation and their team of volunteers travel to tribal villages with a mobile studio recording system to record the work of these artists under their ‘Project Equals’ initiative, which brings tribal folk musical communities into the mainstream. Once the composition is vetted for originality, it is converted into a digital format. The copyright to this composition is then given to the composer.