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Vintage gramophones: This music connoisseur from Punjab is keeping a dying art alive

The music connoisseur from Nabha in Punjab also owns over 10,000 records of Hindi and Punjabi music to play on this 90-year-old ‘tawa’, as it is called locally.

punjab Updated: Nov 06, 2017 13:42 IST
Ifrah Mufti
Ifrah Mufti
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Vintage gramophones,gramophones,Punjab
Bheem Lubaneawala (in yellow turban) of Nabha along with his 90-year-old gramophone and old music records at the Chandigarh National Crafts Mela at Kalagram. (Keshav Singh/HT)

In this digital age, where music has fast moved from Walkman to iPod to Bluetooth speakers, 70-year-old Bheem Lubaneawala is still relishing the old melodies on a vintage gramophone.

The music connoisseur from Nabha in Punjab also owns over 10,000 records of Hindi and Punjabi music to play on this 90-year-old ‘tawa’, as it is called locally.

At the Chandigarh National Crafts Mela being held at Kalagram, the bearded and turbaned septuagenarian can be seen sitting under a tree with three of his gramophones and a number of records, kept in small trunks.

Visiting the city fair for the first time, Lubaneawala has become a centre of attraction, not only for elderly visitors, who become nostalgic on seeing the display, but even kids, who are amazed to see the “ancient” music player.

‘Seep Laun Nun Phirde Ne’, ‘Gaddi Jatt Di’, ‘Chure Wali Bahn’, ‘Ho Gayi Kurbaan Jatti’, ‘Pai Ja Ve Sharabia’, ‘Bebe Di Sewa’, ‘Ruse Nun Mana Leni Aan’, ‘Khir Khir Vekh Ke Hasdi Nun’, ‘Jatt Bana Bedardi’, ‘Sanu Maar Mukaya’ are some of the popular records he has brought to the crafts mela. (Keshav Singh/HT)

‘Songs of all shades’

Lubaneawala says he is here to exhibit the dying art and has been entertaining the visitors by playing varied songs based on wedding ceremonies, youth, parenthood, romance, sports and all kinds of themes.

‘Seep Laun Nun Phirde Ne’, ‘Gaddi Jatt Di’, ‘Chure Wali Bahn’, ‘Ho Gayi Kurbaan Jatti’, ‘Pai Ja Ve Sharabia’, ‘Bebe Di Sewa’, ‘Ruse Nun Mana Leni Aan’, ‘Khir Khir Vekh Ke Hasdi Nun’, ‘Jatt Bana Bedardi’, ‘Sanu Maar Mukaya’ are some of the popular records he has brought to the crafts mela.

Even as he is playing these songs for free here, the gramophone records have been his bread and butter since he was 15-year-old when he started installing loudspeakers at weddings.

“I made sure I had an apt music record for each ceremony,” he says.

‘Gives DJs run for their money’

Giving a run for their money to the modern disc jockeys, he continues to be in great demand in Punjab villages, where he charges anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for a wedding ceremony.

“People visit my place and pay me just to have a look of the old gramophones,” he says. “One record costs between Rs 100 and Rs 5,000, and I do sell these in Punjab.”

Lubaneawala says people from abroad too have started contacting him to get recordings of old Punjabi music, and when they visit Punjab they gift him other records that he adds to his collection.

‘Experience counts’

Even as he never learnt to read or write, the 70-year-old puts his experience to use to easily pick the apt record from among thousands he carries along. Name a singer and he would know the songs by heart. Ask for a specific mood or situation, and he would play just the right song.

The gramophone that he bought for Rs 5,000 a long time ago, not costs more than 50,000, he says. But putting a price on his passion is not possible.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 13:41 IST