The 'Long Play' (LP) records that originally stored around 25 minutes of music on one side and that could be turned over and played, gave way to CDs, then to the MP3 and iTunes. "Nowadays, you've got several options to access music. Any song can be downloaded from the Internet in seconds. But what an LP record gives you is a unique experience. Analog sound quality is unmatchable," says Zafar Shah, who runs the Shah Music Centre in Old Delhi.
The good old gramophone with the acoustic horn that once provided hours of listening pleasure right until the 1950s now mostly adorns living spaces as showpieces. Later models of turntables, especially those that saw much play in the 1970s and 1980s, are being dusted and put to use once more by those who grew up with them, and their late-millennial progeny. Those who enjoy that distinctive LP sound but don't want to completely cut themselves off from the digital age often opt for new-age digital turntables that come with a USB port. Yes, Edison's invention now comes in an avatar that allows you to connect to your PC and convert rare vinyl records into the digital format. Businessman Afroz Alam (30) bought a windup record player six years ago. "What attracted me to LP players was how you could make out the differences in the beats and vocals, an individuality of each sound. Digital music doesn't offer that quality," says Alam, who enjoys listening to Munni Begum, Abida Parveen and Begum Akhtar.
Shah Music Centre
Shah music center at Meena Bazar, Opp Jama Masjidat Chandni chowk in New Delhi. (Photo by Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times).
Established in the 1930s, Shah Music Centre, which is now run by the third generation of the family continues to deal exclusively in LP records and players. "The passion has been passed down from generation to generation. Music is now in our blood," says Zafar Shah. With around 1.5 to 2 lakh records in their collection, Shah believes that LP records are definitely making a comeback. On an average, he says, about 40 customers, young and old, come to his shop every month looking for records and players. It's mostly Bollywood music that sells with the music of RD Burman and the songs of Laxmikant Pyarelal being in demand. If someone is looking for a rare piece of music on LP or wants to get something imported, Shah can help source the record. "We understand music and the passion for LPs and so we help," he says. The shop also stocks gramophones, including the original wind-up players and the electronic record players that were in use until the 1980s.
Address: Shop no 256, Meena Bazaar, near Jama Masjid.
Price: Rs 300 - 1500. (Rare collections might cost more).
|Palash Sen, Frontman (Euphoria)|
My childhood was spent hearing vinyl records every day. I have LPs and EPs and even the older ones, that would play at 78 rpm, inherited from my grand-father, my father and my mamaji. I have everything from Rabindra sangeet and Nazrul geeti to vintage Hindi film songs to Elvis Presley to Deep Purple. That's approximately 5,000 records.
Anuj Rajpal Owner of the New Gramophone music, Opp moti cinema at Chandni chowk in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, September 10, 2015. (Photo by Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times).
At Anuj Rajpal's shop in Chandni Chowk, the price of the LPs might have gone up several fold (costs average at about Rs 1,000) in the past few decades, but the number of buyers has only increased. "Those who prefer quality come to us, and don't care for the price," says Rajpal, who claims he has two lakh records, perhaps one of the biggest collections in the city. The trove includes all kinds of Indian music LPs as well as Western titles. Of course, Hindi film sound tracks rule with the most popular LPs being Mughal-e-Azam, Kabhi Kabhie and Dil Toh Pagal Hai.
Address: Shop no 9, near Moti Cinema, Chandni Chowk
Price: Rs 300 - 5,000.
|Lushin Dubey, Theatre personality|
I have a good collection of about 300-350 LPs. My husband is a professor and he has got the entire collection of Shakespeare. I have some very old Connie Francis and Frank Sinatra LPs and of course, the Beatles.
Balwant Singh at his cassette shop in Chandini Chowk, in New Delhi. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/ Hindustan Times)
In the initial years after Partition, Gurukripa Enterprises was popular for its LPs. The owner of the shop, Balwant Singh, kept pace with changing times and started selling audio cassettes, which later made way for CDs. In the last few years, due to the renewed interest in LPs, he has been dealing with many new shoppers in addition to regular customers. The shop has classics like Mughal-e-Azam, Pakeezah and Sholay. "LPs of films made in 1970s and '80s are much in demand. People come asking for songs of RD Burman, Lata Mangeshkar and KL Saigal," said Singh.
Address: Opposite Gurudwara Seesganj, Chandni Chowk
Price: Rs 200 - 1500.
Yaseen Music Shop
Yaseen music center at Jaffarabad Near Seelam Puri in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, September 10, 2015. (Photo by Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times).
Mohd Yaseen Khan not only sells LPs but is also a passionate collector with about 5000 records that he has picked up from places like Mumbai and Kolkata. From Bollywood music to English records and bhajans, he has them all. He recently shut down the shop that his father started in Meena Bazar 45 years ago. Khan now operates out of a temporary space in Jafrabad. "I've seen a lot of ups and down in the business. Lately, it wasn't doing great. But really passionate people still come looking for records, even the younger ones," he says.
Price: Rs 300 - 800.
Radio & Gramophone House
LP Records and Players at Radio And Gramophone House at Connaught Place in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015. (Photo by Raj K Raj/ Hindustan Times).
Located in the heart of the capital, Radio & Gramophone House was set up in 1951 by the Jain family. Currently being run by father-son duo, Sunil and Rishi Jain, the shop mostly deals in contemporary music equipment. A small section, however, is dedicated to LP records. The collection includes the latest imported ones and a few rare records too. "The quality of music that you get from an LP is far better than these modern discs," says Rakesh Dogra, who has been working with the Jains for the past 30 years. "Old classic film songs and music from the likes of SD or RD Burman, are the most sought after. We see a lot of musicians turn up looking for these things too," he says. One of the few places that sell modern turntables, the music shop has brands like Lenco and Denon.
Address: K-27, Opposite PVR Plaza, Connaught Place.
|WHERE TO GET A PLAYER||FOR REPAIRS|
|New Gramophone House: Shop no 9, Opposite Moti Cinema, Chandni Chowk|
Range: Old gramophones Rs 10-50,000; new gramophones Rs 3-5,000. New turntables Rs 12-50,000. Call: 9810955557
Bass n Treble: 2 Club Drive, MG Road, Near Ghitorni Metro Station, Ghitorni,
Range: New turntables: Rs 10,000-8,00,000. Call: 9999016148, 26503124 (bassntreble.com)
Strings and Drums: 196 A, Tarachand complex, East of Kailash. Range: Old gramophones Rs 4,500. Call: 33986537
Radio & Gramophone House: K-27, Connaught Place. Range: New turntables Rs 16-28,000. Call: 9811880023
Music Mahal: Near Moti Cinema, Chandni Chowk. Range: New turntables Rs 20-24,000. Call: 9810646628
New Gramophone House: Shop no 9, Opposite Moti Cinema, Chandni Chowk. Call: 9810955557