Free Press Journal

Nine transgenders sing for ‘Songs Of The Caravan’


Song Of The Caravan

New Delhi: Breaking societal stereotypes, nine transgenders from across India have come together to take a musical step towards establishing their identity by lending their voices to an album that was launched here Saturday.

Titled “Songs of the Caravan”, the album has 13 songs representing nine states – Manipur, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu – to give it a pan-India flavour. The album was conceptualised by Jeevan Trust, a NGO that works for underprivileged and disadvantaged communities.

“We have been working on mainstreaming the issues that have so far not been given their due like disability, gender. Working with these participants was an eye opening experience and we have got some wonderful recordings done from all over India. I hope people will appreciate everyone’s efforts,” Jeevan Trust president Anubhav Gupta said in a statement.

The album, planned three years ago, intends to “dispel the widespread notions about the community and create more acceptance at social and political level”, he said.

“It is to create awareness and establish these transwomen as independent, talented and empowered women. These trans people have come together on a professional platform to sing, celebrate and establish their voices not only as professional artists and singers but also as bold and spirited individuals.”

The songs include folk, love, devotional and badhai (greeting), along with self composed ones. The transgenders sang the songs in Carnatic vocal, Hindustani vocal, Rabindra Sangeet. Genres like jazz and blues were also incorporated in the album.

Amitava Sarkar from Kolkata said: “It was a wonderful experience to record for the album with all other trans sisters. I have taken five years’ training in Rabindra Sangeet and have always felt that trans people deserve many such platforms and people need to change their perceptions.”

The album, sponsored by Planet Radio Foundation, an organisation that works on promoting the rights of sexual minorities in association with Jeevan Trust and Abhivyakti Foundation, working on issues of HIV and sexual health, was launched with support from the United Nations Development Program.