Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho, Panjim, recently announced the recipients of the first edition of the VM Salgaocar Fellowship Grants, which recognizes outstanding achievements of creative professionals, doing research on diverse subjects.
It will enable them to bring forth critical new projects, contributing to enriching creativity. After a rigorous selection, three candidates have been awarded grants, and among them is Nalini de Souza.
Nalini studied at the Open University of Lisbon, Portugal, attaining a degree in Portuguese Language and Literature, followed by an MA in Language and Portuguese culture through Goa University.
She was selected for a Masters in Aveiro University, Portugal, specifically in the Institute of Ethnomusicology Centre for Studies in Music and Dance, which is a part of the Department of Art and Communication, and a scholarship to be a part of the project Liber|Sound.
Among the main aims of this project is to “free” the sounds from shellcal discs - 78rpm records, to find ways of digitizing the discs and widening the research to other private collections.
These 78rpm records are sourced from Goa, Radio Mozambique, Brazil (Instituto Moreira Salles archive), and P José Moças collection, kept at Aveiro University.
“My starting point was a file with 447 photographs of records which were archived in All India Radio, Goa. My task was to classify it according to the title, genre, name of the composers, singers, musicians, label, the catalogue reference of the disc, the matrix, date of release and institutional catalogue reference.
"I counted 51 composers, many are tiatrists. Since I have one more year to finish my masters, I chose the compositions of 3 artists whose works are represented in 89 of the total 447 records (corresponds to 20% of the records). I’m in touch with the family members of these composers and I hope that together we are able to bring to the fore their compositions, and explore Goa from 1947 – the year of India’s independence from British rule, to the present day,” she said.
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Her research, specifically on tiatr, started in 2009, while working on the production of the TV series Contacto Goa, which portrayed the lives of Portuguese nationals living outside Portugal and was showcased on African and Portuguese channels.
She went beyond this, showing the Portuguese presence in Goa through the architecture, food, music, language amongst other influences.
In 2009, she had the opportunity to watch tiatr and interview academics and tiatrists whose contributions will be part of the dissertation she is writing.
In 2011, while working on the production of another documentary, Dances of Goa, and exploring the basic style, rituals, beliefs, customs and costumes of Goan villages, she had the opportunity of revisiting some of the academics and tiatrists and move further in her research.
While in Aveiro in 2021, she found the names of composers, musicians, singers of kantaram (songs integral to tiatr) in archived photographed record labels, many of which are with All India Radio, Panjim, Goa.
The fellowship will enable her to tap other avenues other than the dissertation and the main deliverable is a documentary on her research. Till March 2024, she expects to participate in at least two international conferences, and organize one workshop on tiatr and one seminar connected to her research.
“After I deliver my dissertation in June 2023, and the documentary by the end of the year, I intend to continue the study on tiatr because there are many aspects of, both, the dissertation and documentary which I won’t be able to explore right now. A documentary about saxophonist, Braz Gonsalves, hopefully will be ready by the end of the year,” she adds
Founder member and manager of the Panjim-based NGO, Communicare, Nalini also teaches Portuguese in local secondary schools, teaching Portuguese as a foreign language, in addition to running a Portuguese mobile library.
As manager, producer, director and editor of Lotus Film & TV Productions (Portuguese television), she has created the series Hora dos Portugueses in India, and a documentary, The Club, portraying the life of Goans living in Tanzania (specifically at the Dar es Salaam Institute), which was screened at Sunaparanta as part of the ‘Goa in Film’ Festival earlier this month.