The emphasis is on empower: many Indian artistes have little idea of copyright and the technologies that are available today, and more often than not have little or no financial resources at their command to protect themselves and their art.
It is particularly important that established and mainstream artistes like Mudgal and Pradhan lend support to this cause- for one thing they bring their considerable reputation to bear on the effort, and for another, they speak (or, in this case, sing) for their brethren with a clear and loud voice.
Underscore Records is an exclusive music label and website that specializes in music from India. All copyrights for the music on the site rest in most cases with the musicians who made and recorded it, and hence revenues generated from sales also go almost entirely to the artistes.
Underscore also sponsors an annual music festival dedicated to the richness and diversity of Indian music, and to the independent music industry that is gradually gaining ground in India: Bajaa Gajaa. This has been curated by Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan three years in a row now, and is held in Pune, usually early in the year. In addition to showcasing Indian talent, there is also an academic component, entrepreneurship, and plain simple fun! Exhibitions, films, performances- its wild, energetic and an absolutely unique forum.
A seminar that was part of BG2011 was on The Musical Lens: Filmmaking and Music. Music has had a long association with film making. In India, music continues to play an integral part of mainstream cinema not just through background scores but by way of songs. However, outside the world of mainstream cinema, the association between the arts of music and film making does not seem to reach the public eye.
This seminar makes an attempt at understanding the views of filmmakers and will try to throw up solutions to the challenges that the present circumstances pose with regard to aesthetics, production, dissemination. The seminar will also act as a forum for open interaction between musicians and filmmakers, in an effort to understand each other’s roles and situations. The seminar brought together film historians, critics, documentary and filmmakers- Gargi Sen (Magic Lantern), Spandan Bannerjee, Meenakshi Shedde, Arun Khopkar, and Rajula Shah among others. And this was just one of the seminars…
This year, the exhibitions at Baajaa Gaajaa included displays of art, contemporary and archival photographs, instruments and more, all of which pertain to music. There was an exhibition of instruments organized according to the Indian system of categorizing musical instruments under the four heads, namely, avanaddha, ghana, sushir and tat.