Using the audio-visual medium to preserve the heritage of Goa

October 27, 2022 | 04:55 IST

Using the audio-visual medium to preserve the heritage of Goa

October 27 is designated as World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH) as it was chosen by UNESCO in 2005 to raise awareness of the importance and preservation risks of recorded sound and audiovisual materials. In Goa, many Goans record the heritage of Goa in their own inimitable style while focusing on different aspects of the state.

Dolcy D’Cruz

When was the last time you visited a library? It might take a few minutes to remember the exact time, but if you were asked when was the last time you opened a video on the internet, it would probably be more frequently than visits to a library. Because watching a video is just a click away, the same videos are shared continuously and reach a wider audience within minutes. The medium of audio-visual recording is so powerful that it is used for the preservation of heritage in digital form. Today, October 27, is World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH) which has been chosen by UNESCO. These audiovisual archives record not only events, but also the lives of people and cultures around the world. Since the advent of the internet, Goa may have been slow to catch up, but once the right equipment was in the hands of the pioneers, there was no turning back. The heritage of Goa is perceived not only by the Goans but also by people from the diaspora as well as those who have visited the state or plan to do so in the future. Audiovisual heritage represents a valuable piece of heritage that showcases the cultural, social and linguistic diversity of our communities in Goa. The digitization of this history is important and it was the vision of UNESCO when it commemorated the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH) in 2005. In the same year, Nalini Elvino De Souza took small steps in understanding the medium. Founder of Communicare Trust in Goa, Nalini represents Goa to Portuguese viewers via RTPi. His Portuguese documentaries with English subtitles have featured notable Goa personalities from different walks of life. “The opportunity to work for television first presented itself in 2005. I knew nothing about production, editing or cameras, but I slowly learned on the job. My first series was Contacto Goa and it ran from 2005 to 2011 and it was shown on the Portuguese international channel RTPi as well as in Africa via RTPAfrica. A total of 75 documentaries lasting 30 minutes which explored many aspects of Goan culture, architecture, cuisine, music and historical figures of Goa like Francisco Luis Gomes or Abbot Faria,” says Nalini. This was followed by his own documentaries outside the Portuguese Television spectrum. The documentary “Dances of Goa” was the first to travel to Bulgaria. “I remember the excitement of the audience when they watched our Goa dances. I think the sound of the ghumot and the colors of the saris made them dream of Goa as a place that was vibrant and full of life. It gave me the impetus to produce more documentaries about Goa and show them outside India. ‘Special Envoy’, about the life of Aquino de Bragança, an intellectual and journalist from Goa who helped change the course of history in Africa and the latest documentary, ‘The Club’ about the importance of Goans in Tanzania are just how I use audio visual to introduce Goa to the world,” she explains. Nalini continues to work for RTP with the series “Hora dos Portugueses”, which delves into the lives of Portuguese people around the world, she being in charge of Portuguese people in India. The series started in 2015 and it will be the seventh consecutive year. More than 150 episodes were broadcast on RTP1 (national channel) and RTPi (international channel) for which she interviewed Goans like Sonia Shirsat, Anju Timblo, Sigmund de Souza, Julieta Andrade, Omar Loiola Pereira, Nadia Rebelo, Schubert Cotta and so many others. “Right now I’m in the middle of my master’s degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and the audiovisual had to be about Tiatr. A new documentary always makes me dream and I look forward to another day where I will have the chance to meet new people and learn new aspects of life that I did not know”, says Nalini. Brijesh Kakodkar from Margao worked on a series of videos about different villages in Goa. Although he has shot and edited videos, he uploads them weekly to YouTube. “I make videos that show the history and significance of certain places in the villages and their village life. I focus on a person’s point of view when they visit these villages and the vibe of the place,” says Brijesh, who has so far uploaded videos about Carambolim, Chimbel and Divar on his YouTube channel, Premium Goa. Accompanied by Dishant Harmalkar, a videographer, Brijesh directs to shoot short videos in different locations. The YouTube channel was launched in 2018 and once the Covid pandemic hit he didn’t have access to shoot videos. “As things started to normalize, we started working on different themes for the videos. Keeping these videos online makes them very accessible to everyone around the world. Even though YouTube is closing, these videos are not perishable and can be downloaded anywhere as long as there is internet,” says Brijesh, who has previously filmed the villages of Paroda, Chandor, Assolna, Assagao, Betul and Aldona.Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) is organizing the Festival heritage of Goa for more than two decades, showcasing the cultural and architectural heritage of Goa.This year, the event will be held from November 15th to 19th at Campal Heritage Precinct, by the Mandovi River, Panjim. Since its inception in 2000, the group has documented the events, festivals and conferences on their website as well as Youtube. Pritha Sardessai, a member of the Goa Heritage Action Group, says: “All the folk performances that will be presented at the festival can be considered audiovisual heritage and have been previously documented by video recordings broadcast on television and kept in the archives. It is very important to preserve heritage through audiovisual recordings so that future generations can have a reference of age-old traditions that will help them carry it forward. She further adds, “Secondly, by uploading it to platforms like YouTube, it can be accessed by people everywhere. Many videos are already available on YouTube. But there is still a long way to go. Many more still need to be registered/downloaded. Sawani Shetye, a resident of Hasapur in North Goa is an archaeologist with a master’s degree in Archeology and Ancient Indian History and Culture which adds more depth to the videos she uploads to YouTube. His most recent video explains the Betal statue in Loliem, Canacona. The myths and legends located in different parts of Goa are brought out through this medium. “I am planning to upload one video per week on different cultural aspects in Goa and outside Goa which are related to heritage. These videos are viewed by people ranging from young people to over 50s. At present, the videos are in English, but depending on the response, I can record them in Konkani and Marathi,” says Sawani, who previously led archaeologist-led trails to ancient sites along the Mhadei River bank called “Histories of Sattari.” under the direction of Bhoomij Heritage Consultancy. Together with her husband, Chaitanya Malik, a computer engineer who does the basic video editing of her videos, Sawani keeps her videos under eight minutes. “These videos touch a si large number of people and they will remain in a repository somewhere on the internet that can be viewed even after a decade Many viewers comment on the videos to visit their villages or forts s or other places of interest,” says Sawani.Moses J Saldanha is the first independent YouTuber from Goa to hit the 100,000 subscriber mark in January 2022 for which he was awarded YouTube Silver Plate. A huge achievement for Moses as he only started uploading videos consistently from September 2020. “During Covid Lockdown I documented beaches in Goa which were totally empty and serene and that showed another side of Goa. Now I have made a series on the same beaches which shows the gradual progression of development and tourism. I focus on small hotels and restaurants in Goa, especially on the beach belt of Goa, as I don’t want hordes of tourists flocking to people’s villages and homes. The videos are more about what one can do as a tourist who wants to understand the culture of Goa, the food and the pulse of the people,” says Moses, who is one of the directors of the Stenodac Institute. He uploaded one video a day and has so far uploaded 690 videos and hit the 3.4 million mark with viewers from 156 countries around the world.

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