As it so often happens, the stories of underrepresented people get lost or forcefully erased through time by those who wish to control the historical narrative.
In early twentieth century India, women were pioneering the music recording field but their results and efforts have been somewhat hidden under the radar, until now.
Because of the efforts of author and historian Vikram Sampath these women’s stories have been brought to light in the book Women of the Records. The book is accompanied by a CD on which one can hear original recordings of the artists, fully restored and reconstructed.
“Across India women, mostly from the courtesan community, were the stellar pioneers of recording technology in the early twentieth-century.
Yet, their stories have been completely lost in the sands of time.
This book revisits their lives & features the indefatigable saga of 25 inspiring Indian women musicians from across the country, from 1902 to 1947.”
In 2011 Sampath launched Archive of Indian Music, an online preservation database of Indian music, all of which can be streamed on Soundcloud, for free.