29 September, 2020

Their Names Written In Wax

The story of how women musicians made the transition from salons to recording studios.

Their Names Written In Wax
outlookindia.com
2016-05-20T22:27:47+05:30

Flick through the pages of Jalsa, and you can’t quite decide if you are holding a glossy scrapbook or a slim coffee-table book. But between the pages, Vidya Shah, a popular vocalist and composer, manages to tell you a story that was waiting to be told. It’s the story of how women musicians made the transition from salons to recording studios.

The book juxtaposes photographs and interviews with panache, evoking an era which was skimmed over till now. The measured tone of the narrative and its anecdotes help you sketch a portrait of the period. Sample this: sound engineer Fred Gai­­sberg, who did India’s first recording in Cal­c­­utta, writes: “We made our first nat­­ive records. Two little nautch girls, 14 and 16, with miserable voices. They persi­sted in covering their faces and never got over the emba­rrassment we inspired.” Or, that when asked to announce his name at the end of a reco­rding, sitar maestro Enayet Khan said: “Prof Enayet Khan sit­ariye, Vilayat Khan ke...

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