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Revisiting forgotten records

music Updated: Jul 22, 2010 17:52 IST
Jayeeta Mazumder
Jayeeta Mazumder
Hindustan Times
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Witness an era gone by. Some of Gauhar Jaan's oldest recordings will be presented by classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal and her husband, renowned tabla player, Aneesh Pradhan, at NCPA, today.

One of the first performers to record music on 78 rpm records in India, Gauhar Jaan's contribution to Hindustani classical music remains relevant till today. She was the first major gramophone celebrity, who recorded over 150 discs in twenty different languages and dialects.

Mudgal adulates, "As students of music, we'd listen to recordings of old masters and therefore listening is part of studying. Gauhar Jaan recorded prolifically. Hers were some of the earliest recordings and, fortunately, we have quite a wide variety to choose from." This, she says, has been possible because of individual record collectors and organisations that collect these records. "We've been able to study quite a few tracks."

Shubha MudgalMudgal owns some of the records that were commercially available. Both Mudgal and Pradhan, will only be commenting on her repertoire of songs, ranging from khayals, thumris, dadras, tappas, horis to ghazals. "Aneesh and I were interested because it deals with how artistes approached the entire experience of recording, particularly classical music. It's interesting to look at how she perceived the process. Today, we have several softwares that make recordings easy."

The archival session will be approached from the points of view of students of music, about what Gauhar Jaan's music conveys, how it was made, recorded, and how each song was presented. Mudgal explains, "We're not really qualified to comment on the techniques of recording. We're really commenting on the pricess of making music."