In today’s modern age with technology making its presence felt in every walk of life, especially in the field of music and audio recording, it is baffling to know that listening to the earliest recordings of our music right from the wax cylinders, gramophone shellacs (78 RPMs) and vinyl LPs unless one has the required player, is a near impossibility. A lot of these rare recordings, which capture the voices of our ancestors are depleting at an alarmingly rapid rate. Digitization of these records and preserving of this music for posterity and making them easily and electronically available to musicians, researchers, students of music and interested public is the need of the hour.
It is to achieve this hallowed objective that the Archive of Indian Music (AIM) was established, in 2011, as a private and not-for-profit Trust that can help conserve the gramophone recordings and bring them back into circulation.
The archive features numerous artists and several rare tracks including Mahatma Gandhi’s Spiritual Message that he recorded in 1931 in England; the country’s first recording by Gauhar Jaan in 1902; Rabindranath Tagore reciting his Bengali poetry; the first recording of the National Anthem by the Viswa Bharati Chorus; the first recording of M S Subbulakshmi as a child of 9 years, to name just a few of the valuable gems in the website.
AIM has held several first of its kind audio exhibitions called “Voices of India” in Bangalore, Delhi, and Kolkata, curated by using the latest technology to access the oldest music of the country. Through Apps designed on Android Smart Phones that were made available at the exhibition, visitors regaled themselves to the lilting melodies of the oldest music of India. AIM has also tied up with the Google Cultural Institute to curate online and thematic audio exhibitions (hyper link to https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/partner/archive-of-indian-music).
The Archive is hosted in Bangalore under the aegis of the International Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru (IIIT-B) (hyper link to https://www.iiitb.ac.in).
The Trust is registered via 12AA with the IT Department and recognized via 80G for IT exemptions for donations to be received effective from April 2013.