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Bajanama: Customs Commissioner in Mumbai studied early Indian Gramophone records

 

 Customs
Commissioner in Mumbai studied Indian Music


Sound is a fifty per cent
partner in film” said A N Sharma, the author of an interesting
masterpiece “Baajanama” which was released by Pandit Rajan Mishra
and Pandit Sajan Mishra in Mumbai.  Interacting with media
on the sidelines of Mumbai International Film Festival  2012,
Mr Sharma said his book ‘Bajanaama’ is about the first decade of
commercial recordings in India.”
It was in 1902, that the first recording of Indian music was
made in India by the Gramophone Company of India.  The
great sound expedition began with the recording of songs by Kolkata
singers Shohsimukhi and Fanibala of Bengal theatre.  Later,
Gauhar Jaan recorded her voice in several languages. “Most of the well
known singers of that time were suspicious of all things foreign and
white and therefore did not oblige the recordists easily” said Mr.
Sharma.  The recorded music played a pioneering role in
popularizing music, as it made it available to the larger audience.
Bajanaama is an honest effort to document the social and
political landscape of the Indian subcontinent after the first War of
Independence  from British rule and just before the Delhi
Durbar in 1911. At another level, the volume tries to contextualize the
history of Hindustani music at a very crucial juncture.At this point the
major courts of North India had disintegrated and erstwhile court
musicians were forced to become itinerant musicians who occasionally
managed to find favour with smaller principalities and zamindaris. 
This phenomenon gave rise to a new trend of mixing of elements
of gharanas.    
A N Sharma, a career bureaucrat and serving Customs
Commissioner in Mumbai, got hooked on to this project accidentally. 
A chance browsing of junk in a kabadi shop some 20 years ago,
turned a casual music lover to into a keen researcher and an archivist
of the history of sound recording in India
.

 

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About INDIA Rajendra Joshi

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