Lucknow, city of rare gramaphone records

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Lucknow, Sep 9: It is not just the delectable Awadhi cuisine the city of Nawabs boasts of but for the music aficionados, the ultimate destination is the old city which houses a rare collection of gramophone records dating back early 20th Century. Collection of thousands of gramophone records in a traditional Nawabi house in the city station area of the old city are a delight to the music lovers of the city, which also boasts of high norms of music.

Syed Masoom Raza, the owner of the building 'Saltanat Manzil', which houses the collection, modestly claims it to be 'unique' and 'rare'.

The hall of the house, containing several unique antique items, coupled with a ambience of the Nawabi era transports one to the bygone era by recreating the magic. The records happened to be a source of entertainment for family and guests.

The gramophones have withstood the test of times with the original covers retaining the titles in Urdu and English. The collection contains some records, which have recordings only on one side. These records are made of slate and lac and are played with magnetic iron needle at 78 r.p.m.

The collection includes Mujra, Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal, Indian Classical, folk, films and English songs. In addition to the famous His Master Voice, records of several Indian and foreign companies like MGM, Megafone, Columbia, Gramophone Concert Record, The Twin, London America Recordings, Parlophone, Zonofone Records form a part of this collection, most of which are long forgotten by the present generation.

Several works by well-know singers in the collection are Malka Jaan (Agra), Ali Baksh, Miss Dulari, Baby Indira, Naseem Bano, Miss Sarojni, Pyara Sahab, Naseem Akhtar, Miss Angoor Wala, Miss Kamla (Jhariya), Waheedan Bai, Professor Narayan Rao Vyas, Ameer Bai Karnataki, Akhtari Bai (famous as Begum Akhtar), as well as known singers like K L Sehgal, Shamshad Begum, Noor Jahan, Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mehmood, Mukesh and Mohd. Rafi.

An antique His Master Voice (HMV) gramophone record player in Saltanat Manzil is still in a working condition.

Khan Bahadur Nawab Syed Hamid Husain Khan started this collection, which was carried forward by Nawab Syed Mehdi Husain Khan, Special Magistrate and Nawab Syed Raza Hasan Khan.

Syed Masoom Raza and Professor Syed Ali Hamid, the caretakers of the collection told UNI here today that the maintenance of the lot requires a lot of efforts as they are easily breakable.

''One record has one song on each side. In the Nawabi era, these records were an important means of entertainment,'' they said.

UNI

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