In a political environment, one might have inhibitions about voicing one’s opinion. But youngsters have found a new and un-offensive way to do so – by taking up protest songs.
Young artists, activists and researchers from different parts of the country have gathered in the Capital to come up with Andhere Mein. This event will have protest songs by four bands – Kaladas Deheriya (Chhattisgarh), Shankar Mahanand (Odisha), Indian Folk Band (Karnataka) and Yalgaar (Maharashtra).
“The idea struck us about two-three years back,” says Angarika Guha, a member of Reela – the collective and an organiser of the event. Referring to the different socio-political movements happening in the country, Guha says, “The youngsters wanted to bring all of them together. We have attended and co-organised a number of protests, and in each, we found the protest song or singer either missing or used instrumentally. Protest music and poetry is used to gatheer crowds, as a break between speeches or to convey political messages. It got us thinking about the role and relevance of the protest song, about how creative expression could be radical without being reduced only to its political function.”
These youngsters feel that the concept of protest song has got stuck in the sounds of the 60s and 70s. The need to create new works has made them collaborate and plan events in the Capital. The places chosen are worker colonies, colleges, bastis and other such public spaces. She says, “These archives are very important, but we feel it’s also crucial to develop a sound and vocabulary that speak to our times. We try and occupy public spaces, to reclaim them as our own, particularly in cities where there is increasing gentrification and isolation. Hence the choice of performing outside arts faculty.”
“Our focus is to reach out to students, to encourage them to speak out, not necessarily only at protests but also to look at their own environments critically. There are many ways in which young people may choose to express their dissent and art allows that multi-dimensional space,” adds Guha.
CATCH IT LIVE
WHAT: Andhere Mein, evening of protest music
1. Arts Faculty, North Campus, Delhi University on July 22 at 4.30pm
2. Nizamuddin Basti on July 23 at 10am
3. Studio Safdar, Shadipur, New Ranjit Nagar on July 23 at 7pm
4. Kusumpur Pahari; Visant Vihar on July 24 at 4pm