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Old gramophone records digitised


gramophoneKolkata: A rich collection of over 300 rare recordings, including speeches by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and old classical music have been given a new lease of life through digitisation.

They can now be heard at a new digital sound archive centre at Weavers Studio here, which was thrown open to the public today.

Weavers Studio founder Darshan Shah told “Our primary objective is to preserve these voices of our ancestors and make them easily and electronically available for researchers, musicians, students of music and the public at large. It is unfortunate that many of our rare records are on the verge of destruction and without timely action, these would be lost forever.”

The oeuvre include Nehru’s speech after the Mahatma’s assassination and the original version of the national anthem sung by Gurudev and his students at Shantiniketan.

Other gems which have been digitised include the songs by Gauhar Jan, the country’s first classical singer to record in 1902, besides Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, music by Bengal artists and folk music.

There are also many versions of ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Ram Dhun’ by Bismillah Khan and voices of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Tagore, Rajendra Prasad, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, Aga Khan and Sarojini Naidu, among others.

Anyone visiting the studio can listen to the gems of the bygone era through kiosks and guided listening sessions and acquaint themselves through thematic exhibitions.

Shah said the collection would be taken to the youth in schools and colleges, museums and libraries to provide them a new perspective of looking at Indian history through sound
and visuals.

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