In April 2008, Ruchira Kedar (nee Kale) got an email about her MySpace profile. Julia Adamson from Invisiblegirl Records, sent her an email saying she had a concept in mind about a world music compilation album and was looking for an artiste from India.
“Julia said she heard my track off MySpace and wanted me to be the Indian representative for her compilation. I was surprised. I asked around and found that Invisiblegirl Records was an established name. And after a while, accepted the project,” Ruchira said.
Julia Adamson then sent Ruchira an agreement by email and Ruchira sent her a CD with three tracks on it, via snail mail. The CD had one complete raag, a 20-minute piece and a 10 minute piece. “She chose the 20-minute piece - Maan Na Kariye - for the CD and edited it down to 4 minutes so that it could fit in with the other tracks. She is planning to release the full version for downloads - a lot of people have been enquiring about it,” says Ruchira.
‘A Place in Space’ is the name of the album which has 14 tracks travelling from Portugal, Uruguay, Japan and France. The CD was launched on December 21, 2008 — the solistice (shortest day) or longest day in the southern hemisphere, the iTunes release happened a couple of days later.
The details of the release are available on http://homepage.ntlworld.com/julia.nagle/archive/apis.html.
Julia told us how she came up with the concept - an album with artistes chosen from Myspace. “As soon as the social networking site for musicians was available, I signed up and thought it was a great concept, it is still my favourite place on the internet for music. There are hobbyists on there who obviously love writing music and as with Flickr (the photographers networking site) a few of the dedicated hobbyists actually come up with more original and better finished work than the professionals. There are also artistes in other countries who you wouldn’t have discovered without the site,” she replied.
Narrowing down on the musicians for the CD was a personal (perhaps selfish) process for Julia. “With my experience working with creative artists over the years, I think I have some know-how on the subject and if I think what I hear sounds unique, and has been written or performed from the soul then this is always the best music to listen to. Each artist on the album has these qualities. Also, I wanted to express as big a variety of styles as possible to reflect how eclectic modern music is from different countries,” she added.
As for Ruchira’s work, “Indian classical music has a special popularity in the UK and many fans are of more modern music, world music, not necessarily just orchestrated music. I have personally been a fan for many years,” Julia said.
However, if everyone can access MySpace profiles of artistes and listen to their songs for free, is a record label really required?
“I think a label is required as it legitimises the music as art that should be respected and taken seriously.It helps spread the word about chosen artistes that have been invested in. There is little information about the artiste on an mp3 file, and 99 times out of a hundred the file is of very poor quality compared to the original.
I have sometimes in the past sent letters to napster and such who had many of my songs available to download, they said they had removed them, but they were back on there a few days later. They are supposed to pay a blanket fee to the royalty agencies, like for jukeboxes, but I don’t think they have managed to figure out their accounting yet, (or at least this was the case last time I read about it! ) pirates in the true sense perhaps!
There is another argument being the availability and price. In countries like Russia, the price we charge is far too much for them. But that is more to do with politics and currencies.. I have a dream they will all balance one day and be equal,” replied Julia.
The record label
Invisiblegirl Records is a new label started in June 2006. Julia Adamson is a musician / writer and has worked in the music industry for many years. Last year she developed a business plan at the Northern Lights Project in the Media Factory for starter businesses in the creative arts, in Preston, Lancashire, England.
They have been incorporating this plan and are now starting to get quite busy. Julia has a few volunteers who help with PR and graphics and these have secured some funding for them. Word is getting around locally and they now have many possible releases in the future, but have to go through a process of signing agreements, registering the songs, making sure the audio is at it’s best and having good artwork for promotion, before they release anything as product.
Who is Ruchira?
Ruchira Kedar knew she wanted to be a singer at 12 and her father encouraged her. She has studied with Alka Marulkar, Pt Ulhas Kashalkar and the legendary Smt Girija Devi. She has even spent a few years in the gurukul tradition at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata. Ruchira has performed at many platforms in India including the Tansen Samaroh, ITC SRA Sangeet Sammelans in Lucknow and Delhi, Khajuraho Festival and Kalidas Samaroh, sharing the stage with the likes of Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt Jasraj, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pt Ajay Chakravarty, Gundecha Bandhu and Pt Suresh Talwalkar.