The Travelling Archive is two of us: Moushumi Bhowmik, singer and writer, and Sukanta Majumdar, sound recordist and sound artist. We live in Calcutta (Kolkata) and have been travelling across eastern India and Bangladesh and also in parts of London for over 12 years, working with various aspects of sound, listening and documentation.
In 2013 we produced a sound and moving image work entitled Footsteps of Sound for an exhibition at Foundacion Botin, Santander, based on early sound recordings in India. The name comes from a song we learned on the road, which goes like this: “A sound rises from the mridanga drum/I hear its footsteps/It stirs my heart/I feel in me that rumble and roll/Why, o why did I hear its call?”
This presentation for Points of Listening will be about that call of footsteps, which we heard, and which we now carry to others. We will play a selection of recordings made in a village in Birbhum, West Bengal, India and show footage from another, and tell you some stories.
Many years ago the Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Bake had been to these places too, but that is not the only reason for us to go there. These places also happen to be home for us, and so we ask: whose footsteps do we hear when we listen to the recordings of Bake? Or when we read fragments of his letters? Or when we go through the catalogues of archives where his work is housed? Whose footsteps do we hear in our own recordings?
Such is the entanglement of time and listening that we want to share with you. And as you listen your listening too gets written into our sound and into the sounds and silences of Bake, as the beat of the mridanga drum rises and falls.
Moushumi Bhowmik & Sukanta Majumdar will be in London for their related exhibition: “The Travelling Archive in East London”: Cafe Gallery, Rich Mix, 22nd June – 5th July. The Travelling Archive recordings are also available through the British Library Sound Archive and at the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE) in Gurgaon, India.
With Moushumi Bhowmik & Sukanta Majumdar
Date: Tuesday June 9th, 2015
Time: Arrive at 18:00 (starts promptly at 18:15)
Venue: LCC, Elephant & Castle reception (Directions)
Free with limited capacity. To reserve a place please email: markpeterwright@