City and Space: Music Edition | In Conversation with Anahita Dawar
The Multilogue Collective in collaboration with House Concert India is working on a research narrative based around 'City and Space'. For the initial story, we wanted to cover the music scene in different cities and ask a few questions to musicians, organizers, and supporters of original music in India.
We were glad to have a conversation with Anahita Dawar, who is a vocalist and a performance study scholar. She has been a part of the music community for over a decade now, first as a student and then as a professional.
She was kind enough to express her views through separate videos and text. All the videos are in chronological order with respect to the flow of the narrative.
As an artist/musician/individual, what are your views on the ever-changing scenario for live gigs/concerts within the city and how performance spaces in your city have evolved for different kinds of music?
"I think the music scene in Delhi is always changing. The music community in Delhi is one of the most vibrant communities in Delhi but virtue of what the capital city has to offer in itself; there is all kinds of music happening in every nook and corner. There are some amazing venues that cater to live musicians but the strength lies in the university spaces and educational institutes"
Place-making capitalizes on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well being.
What are your views/suggestions on the idea of music (any genre/any kind of artist - gigs/festival etc) as a place-making tool, to activate the public life and create a sense of community within a city?
"We could however find more ways of making music more inclusive in our city. There are still many genres that certain groups don’t have access to...and some kinds of music that doesn’t come to the forefront. It becomes a matter of money in many places."
"It’s really great that people are getting the chance to ‘display’ their talent but artists are finding it hard to sustain themselves only through music. The question then to ask is a moral one.. or an ethical one.. is it possible to just be a “live performer”? Or does one have to do more? And how? How does one pursue a stable career in music?"
Cities start getting a tag of the kind of 'music scene' it has established over the years or is now adapting to. How would you define the music identity of your city? (You may talk about specific genres or in general.)
"Musicians are tending to production jobs and alternate spaces are there... but I think people are also getting demoralised. Money is a huge factor. And space and time. There are very few ethical venues... so that’s a problem. So the question then becomes is if performance is only always going to be art for arts sake? What does it mean to be a “professional musician” in Delhi? I really don’t know - still trying to figure it out. "
"What I can definitely say that Delhi musicians are massively talented. Some of the most talented in the country... and it’s great that musicians like them are getting into teaching and becoming educationalists. It’s really important for young people to have teachers who can actually demonstrate and perform. Everyone’s getting better :)”
Any organisations you would like to mention which are creating this spark of the community through alternative experiences?
"People are now looking for intimate spaces to perform their music also because some kind of music requires more quiet than what pub gigs have to offer. The space also defines the kind of music performance; singer/songwriters prefer smaller spaces too at times because the emphasis is on the words and needs a close listening. I know of Space Sessions, SoFar, the Eastwind Blackbox, One World College of Music’s Performance Room. Many artists are also tending towards even more personal home gigs...it’s a nice way to bring friends and family together but people are still trying to figure out how to remunerate the artistes , manage production costs, manage people, acoustics and space"
We would like to thank Anahita for being a part of this narrative and for being a wonderful individual in the music fraternity while she represents her city, Delhi. You can connect with her at: Facebook: Anahita Dawar