A new online resource has been added to the ever growing Archival Sound Recordings website at the British Library.
The recordings featured in Music from India were all recorded by the recordist and ethnomusicologist, Rolf Killius, as part of a collaborative project between Rolf, The British Library and the Horniman Museum. The aim of the project – entitled Traditional Music in India and set up in 2000 – has been to record, document and research folk, devotional and ritual music of India, and to collect and document relevant musical instruments. A number of these instruments were specially commissioned for the Horniman Museum and were displayed in their recent Utsavam – Music from India exhibition. The instruments now form part of theHorniman Museum’s permanent collection. All the recordings are deposited at the British Library and can be accessed via the Listening & Viewing Service.
Historically, little work has been done to document and research performance traditions in the remote rural areas of India. In many of these communities, music and dance could be regarded as ‘endangered’, the main reasons being the extremely fast changing socio-economic fabric and the traditionally high stratification in Indian society. This collection and documentation project has, thus, concentrated on the oral culture of distinct communities living in some of these more remote rural areas, where music and dance still play an important part in everyday life. Recordings have been made among a range of communities mainly within the Indian states of Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Assam (Majuli Island), Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat (Kachchh) and Mizoram.
Rolf Killius is a consultant (museums, exhibitions, and media), ethnomusicologist (MMus SOAS, London University), sound recordist, film producer/editor and radio journalist whose work appears in a variety of contexts. He works in academic research, music and sound production, film editing, exhibition curating and the delivery of music and arts events especially related to the Indian subcontinent.
Janet Topp Fargion, Curator World and Traditional Music, the British Library