Aawaz – The Message
Art for change. Music with a message. A message to move people, governments, and a nation into action. This is the spirit behind “Aawaz – Speak Up Against Sexual Violence”, an event being organized by the Eastern Fare Music Foundation in Bangalore this Saturday, June 29th. The Aawaz project was the brainchild of a troupe of musicians who wanted to make their voices heard through music, and its inception started with musician and director of the Eastern Fare Music Organization – Jim Ankan Deka. The song was written following the Delhi gang rape case, as a tribute to the spirit of the victim – and the music video will be released at the event happening this Saturday, June 29th in Bangalore. The event, attended by a few NGOs and media houses, will also involve discussions about ways to generate awareness about crimes against women, and steps towards stopping them.
We chatted with Jim Ankan Deka about the project, its ultimate purpose, and how he hopes to effect change in the country.
IndiEarth: Can you give us a brief on what Aawaz is all about? When did you start working on it and why?
Jim: I wrote the tune of Aawaz in December, 2012 and wrote the lyrics in Assamese. Right after the Delhi gang rape incident in the same month, a few of my friends asked me to write a song for a protest rally in Bangalore. So Ritwika Bhattacharya (singer from Bangalore), Parmita Borah (a communication specialist) and I penned down the Hindi lyrics and performed it in both Hindi and Assamese on the streets of Bangalore for the first time on December 29th, 2012. (Watch the video here). Later we thought of recording the song, and Parmita came up with the idea of releasing the song as a music video. This song is kind of a tribute to the brave girl of the Delhi gang rape incident and we are releasing the video on June 29th; it will be exactly six months since she passed away.
IndiEarth: You mentioned that Aawaz is a collaborative effort with many artists..
Jim: There are about 20 people including musicians, photographers and artists from different parts of India who contributed to the making of the song. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs (2009) finalist Antara Nandy from Kolkata has rendered her vocals to this cause along with Ritwika and Queen Hazarika (a familiar face in the music scenario of Assam). Other artists involved in the project are: musicians – Vicky Mahanta (Guwahati), Pankaj Rajkhowa (Guwahati) and Pratik Nalawade (Mumbai), Siraj – a graphic artist from Bangalore and actors – Antara Baruah (Sibsagar) and Rachel Rose Oommen (Bangalore). The photographers and videographers are Pruthvi R Akarsh (Bangalore), Monibha Mitra (Bangalore), Shasanka Gogoi (Assam) and Anoop Guha (Kolkata).
IndiEarth: We have seen the preview/ teaser video. When does the actual video release?
Jim: We are planning to release the video on Saturday, June 29th at a private event in Bangalore. The video will be available on platforms like YouTube and Dailymotion for public viewing.
IndiEarth: What do you hope to achieve from Aawaz?
Jim: We came up with the song in order to make people aware of various social evils like sexual violence, child abuse and marital rape. The core idea behind the song is to encourage people to speak up and not hush up matters like this. We adhere to the thought that music has the power to get the message across where words fail. We have worked on “Aawaz” with the intention of reminding people of the horrific rape incident in Delhi last year, and the fact that the nation awaits in anticipation along with the family of the unfortunate young woman, for justice. Aawaz strives to retain the same public outcry so that we as a nation can pressurize the law enforcers to deliver speedy justice and punish the guilty.
IndiEarth: And if people want a copy of the single or get connected with you?
IndiEarth: What is next.. with Aawaz and otherwise?
Jim: After I released my album ‘Timeless’ in October, 2012, I thought of taking a break for a year or two; but had to come up with this project just after 3 months. I am a slow person when it comes to music. I like to do one project at a time, although I don’t really consider Aawaz to be a project. Now, I will be working with Antara Nandy on a multilingual song. Also hoping to work on more causes in the future.