Changes to the ways women have practiced Indian classical music over time will be explored at Riverside on Sunday.
A documentary film screening of Her Inner Song will feature reflections from five seasoned Carnatic musicians, from Dundas-raised producer Indu Balachandran.
For a lot of women from orthodox or more traditional communities, public performance just wasn’t encouraged because it didn’t line up with public expectations about modesty.
Ms Balachandran, 37, said the film explored how female musicians and dancers had navigated talent, traditions and passion, from the days of prohibitions against public performance by women in India.
‘‘It’s a very interesting notion for many young women who learn music and dance in Australia today how much things have changed,’’ Ms Balachandran said.
‘‘For a lot of women from orthodox or more traditional communities, public performance just wasn’t encouraged because it didn’t line up with public expectations about modesty.’’
Ms Balachandran said of the five women featured from the Indian Australian diaspora, her grandmother enjoyed ‘‘the most freedom’’ after she was encouraged at age seven to pick up a veena and taught herself to play with great skill.
Another tale is that of vocalist Ganga Ranganath, born in 1923 and now of Marayong, whose mother initially refused to let her sing.
‘‘When she was about 17, she wanted to sing on the radio, but her mother said, “No, no! What will people think? What about your marriage prospects?”
‘‘But she had a very supportive older brother. He said... ‘‘you should just do it”.
‘‘So she sang, and her bother, who I believe had a sound engineering background back in the village, set up a public radio system, so everyone could hear.
‘‘Her mum was moved to tears... After that, she never again objected.’’
The project included research into the evolution of Canartic music in and around Parramatta, which Ms Balachandran described as an Australian ‘‘hub’’ for the ancient artform.
‘‘The Sydney Music Circle, now based at Dundas, it grew and grew and grew out of people’s houses,’’ she said.
Although Sunday’s Riverside show is booked out, Her Inner Song will return in October during the Parramasala festival.