Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Jayanti & Honey
August 28, 2022, 1:00 am
Filed under: India

Pyar Karne Wale

Yen Bambai Shahar

Contrary to what the cover may convey, this is not a Bollywood Bluegrass album. Regrettably, that genre has yet to materialize. The banjo is only featured on one song on this album.

The only information I have been able to find about Jayanti & Honey, is that they released one other album – “Hits of 1987” – that was only available on cassette.

If you have any further information about these artists or anything else about this recording, please leave it in the comment section below.

Catalog number VBLP 1002 on Venus Records & Tapes Mfg. Co. of India. Released 1985.

ରାଧାରାଣୀ ମିଶ୍ର ସହିତ ଭାସ୍କର ପୁହାଶ୍ର
June 19, 2022, 1:00 am
Filed under: India

Aaji Mote Laagena Nida / ଅଜି ମୋଟେ ଲାଗେନା ନିଡ

I have always been fascinated by languages and fonts – especially non-Latin characters.

There are 22 official languages in India – which does not include English. This record was recorded in Odia – formerly known as Oriya – which is the official language in the eastern state of Odisha.

If you have any further information about these artists or anything else about this recording, please leave it in the comment section below.

Catalog number GRE 1152 on Gathani Records of Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. Released 1983.

Mukesh Karia
March 6, 2022, 1:00 am
Filed under: India

Thokar Pe

Kuchh Khone Ko Dil

Mukesh Karia released three singles of instrumental versions of film songs.on the Gathani label between 1977 and 1979.

If you have any further information, please leave it in the comment section below.

Catalog number S/GRE 1079 on Gathani Records of Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. Released 1979.

Milan Deb
November 21, 2021, 1:00 am
Filed under: India

Aap Jaisa Koi

Chhookar Mere Manko

How could I resist that cover, right?

I haven’t been able to find anything on Milan Deb. He did record at least one other single for the Senola label that was die cut to look like an apple. And with the exception of Deb’s two singles and one other LP of Bengali folk songs by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, Senola had only been active in the 1930s, releasing 78 RPM records.

If you have any further information, please leave it in the comment section below.

Catalog number EQS 1005 on Senola of Calcutta – now Kolkata – India. Released 1980.

Jagannath Dhar
September 26, 2021, 6:03 am
Filed under: India

Peete Peete Kabhi Yun Jaam

For years, I was under the impression that EMI – and its subsidiaries Angle, HMV and Odeon – had a monopoly on the music industry in India. That was at least until the Eighties when Polydor and Super Cassettes appeared on the scene. But that was what was going on in Bombay – now Mumbia.

Over in Calcutta – now Kolkata – there were a handful of small independent labels like Adlip, Ashoka, Bharati, Disco, EPEE Gramo, Gathani, Hindusthan, Inreco, Kohinoor, Mayur, Senola and Voice. Most of them only released a small number of singles.

All I have been able to find about Jagannath Dhar is that he released four singles for EPEE Gramo and one for Bharati – all Hindi film tunes. If you have any further information, please leave it in the comment section below.

Catalog number EPS. 193 on EPEE Gramo (Private) Limited of Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. No release date listed.

Pankaj Bose
June 13, 2021, 6:18 am
Filed under: India

Rote Hue

Ye Mera Dil

While the Hawaiian steel guitar is the most prevalent when it comes to Bollywood covers, the “mouth organ” – or harmonica – is probably the second most common. I have seen a few records by other artists – such as Milon Gupta, Madan Kumar, and Saikat Mukherjee – but this is the only one I’ve ever seen by Pankaj Bose.

Other than steel guitar and harmonica, there are plenty of other instruments that have been featured on records of Bollywood covers: accordion – electric and acoustic, clarinet, clavioline, electric bass guitar, electric organ, mandolin – electric and acoustic, saxophone – alto and soprano, Spanish Electric guitar, synthesizer, violin – electric and acoustic, and whistling.

Catalog number KDEP 2101 on Kohinoor Record Co. of Calcutta (now Kolkata). No release date listed.

Kazi Aniruddha
March 31, 2012, 12:06 pm
Filed under: India

Sukno Patar Nupur Paye

Kazi Aniruddha is mostly known – at least in the Western World – for his steel guitar versions of Bollywood songs. But to a large portion of the population of the Indian subcontinent, he was better known as the youngest son of Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Kazi Nazrul Islam was a Bengali poet, musician and revolutionary who pioneered poetic works espousing intense spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression. His poetry and nationalist activism earned him the popular title of Bidrohi Kobi (Rebel Poet). Accomplishing a large body of acclaimed works through his life, Nazrul is officially recognized as the national poet of Bangladesh and commemorated in India.

This recording was to be Kazi Aniruddha’s last. He died in 1974, two years before his father passed away. As far as I know, this is the only recording Aniruddha produced of his father’s music.

Catalog number 7LPE106 EMI / HMV of India, manufactured & distributed by The Gramophone Company of India Limited in 1974.

Usha Uthup
December 11, 2010, 9:34 pm
Filed under: India

Christmas, Merry Christmas

Sinner, Come to Me

When most people think of the Pop music of India, they think of filmi – the music of India’s film industry. But there were a few other options – albeit a very small. There was a Jazz scene in Goa in the 50s and 60s. There were also a number of garage bands around the country like the The Mustangs, The Tremolos and many more who were featured on the Simla Beat compilations that were released in 1970 and 71. And then there were others – like Runa Laila (who was actually from Bangladesh), Nazia Hassan (who was from Pakistan) and Usha Uthup.

Usha Iyer was born November 8, 1947 in Madras (now Chennai), which is the capitol of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Her father Sami Iyer, later became the police commissioner of Bombay (now Mumbai). She has three sisters Uma Pocha, Indira Srinivasan and Maya Sami, all of whom are singers and two brothers, one of whom is named Shyam.

Usha’s first public singing occurred when she was nine. Her sisters introduced her to Ameen Sayani, who gave her an opportunity to sing on the Ovaltine Music Hour on Radio Ceylon. She sang a number called “Mockingbird Hill”. Uthup started singing in a small nightclub in Chennai called Nine Gems, when she was 20. Her performance was so well received that the owner of the nightclub asked her to stay on for a week. From there, she went to Calcutta (now Kolkata). It was there that she met her husband Uthup. Usha then went to Delhi, where she sang at the Oberoi Hotel. By coincidence, a film crew belonging to Navketan unit including Shashi Kapoor visited the nightclub and they offered her a chance to sing movie playback. As a result, she started her Bollywood career with Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Originally, she was supposed to sing “Dum Maro Dum” along with Asha Bhosle. However, as a result of internal politicking on the part of other singers, she lost that chance but ended up singing an English verse.

In 1968, she recorded covers of two pop songs in English, “Jambalaya” and The Kingston Trio‘s “Greenback Dollar”, on an EP, which she followed with the album Scotch and Soda. Her backing band on half of that album was called The Flintstones, who she also recorded a double single. Around this time, she often traveled to London. She was a frequent visitor to Vernon Corea‘s BBC office in London and was interviewed on “London Sounds Eastern” on BBC Radio London. Usha visited Nairobi as part of an Indian Festival. Singing in Swahili made her extremely popular, and President Jomo Kenyatta made her an Honorary Citizen of Kenya. She produced a record Live in Nairobi with a local band Fellini Five.

You can find two more tracks off this record over at Waxidermy.

Catalog number S/EMGE 21010 on EMI of India, manufactured & distributed by The Gramophone Company of India Limited in 1975.

Batuk Nandy
June 27, 2010, 5:41 am
Filed under: India

Laila O Laila

While plodding through Peter Manuel‘s “Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India“, I had a revelation: Filmi music makes up 72% of all music sales in India, but only 41% of the population speaks Hindi. So how did The Gramophone Company Ltd. – who at the time had a monopoly on record production in the country – get the other 350 million or so non-Hindi speaking Indians to buy Hindi language film music? Re-record the music without lyrics, of course.

Batuk Nandy – much like Sunil Ganguly – got his start back in the 78 era performing the music of Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore. But to the best of my knowledge, he only recorded two albums of Film songs, while the rest were Nazrul geeti and Rabindra sangeet. As of 2004, he was still releasing albums.

Catalog number 2392 928 on Polydor Records of India, released 1980.

Van Shipley
January 24, 2010, 3:16 am
Filed under: India

Roz Roz Rozi

[Note: This is a re-print of a guest post that I wrote for Jonathon Ward’s amazing Excavated Shellac back in September of last year. For that post there is a song from one of Van Shipley’s earliest 78, where as here you have a song from the 70s.]

The earliest known report of anyone playing slide guitar was Gabriel Davion, a native of India who had been kidnapped by Portuguese sailors and was brought to Hawaii in 1876. Of course, Indian string instruments, like the gottuvadhyam and the vichitra veena, use a slide are known to have existed since the 11th century. But it was not until Ernest Ka’ai and his Royal Hawaiian Troubadours’ toured in 1919 that the slide guitar was introduced to India.

Most people agree that Van Shipley was the first electric guitarist in India and the first to record instrumental versions of film songs beginning sometime in the early 1950s. Van was born in the city of Lucknow in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. When most people hear his name, they say “But that’s not an Indian name!”. Well, that’s because not everyone in India is Hindu. Shipley was Methodist.

Inspired by his mother, who played the sitar, Shipley took to music at a young age. His first instrument was the violin. He attended Saharanpur to study Indian Classical music. There, he studied under Ustad Bande Hassan Khan and his son Ustad Zinda Hassan Khan, who were both famous Khyal singers from Northern India. At the same time, he took lessons in western music from an American identified as Dr. Wizer.

Shipley then returned to Lucknow to attend college, where he became involved with All India Radio. After college, we went to the city of Pune to work for the Prabhat Film Company before moving to the center of India’s film industry, Bombay (Mumbai). It was there that he caught the attention of producer and director Raj Kapoor, who spotted him performing on stage. Kapoor enlisted Shipley to play violin on the soundtrack for Barsaat (Rain) in 1949. The following year, Shipley added his electric guitar to a dream sequence in Awaara (The Tramp), which brought him to the attention of The Gramophone Co. of India. In 1955, Shipley teamed up with accordionist Enoch Daniels, who he had met while working for the Prabhat Film Company in Pune. This musical partnership ultimately lasted for many years.

Shipley set off the steel guitar craze in India. Other steel guitar players from the 78 era include Batuk Nandy, Brij Bhushan Kabra, Kazi Aniruddha, Mohon Bhattacharya, Nalin Mazumdar, Robin Paul, S. Hazarasingh, Sujit Nath and Sunil Ganguly. But most of these guitarists only recorded Tagore songs, with only a few (Kazi Aniruddha and S. Hazarasingh) recording Filmi tunes (Sunil Ganguly and Batuk Nandy would start doing film songs in the 60s and the 70s, respectively).

One of the most distinct things that set Shipley apart was that he played an eight string guitar, which he had designed and built to give him the drone sound that was more common in Indian Classical music than in the Film songs. Almost all of the other Indian steel guitarists played a National Dual Six Console guitar. Shipley also designed his own electric violin as well, which he dubbed the ‘Gypsy Violin’ and used on many of his later records.

Shipley’s first album, The Man with The Golden Guitar, a title that stuck with him the rest of his career, was released in 1962. He would go on to release an album every year until 1982, as well as a dozen or so EPs. He also tour the world, playing shows in Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean Islands, Suriname, Guyana and the U.S., including the cities of New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Buffalo and Detroit. Besides recording, Shipley acted in a few films as well, including 1964s Cha Cha Cha.

Shipley died on March 8, 2008 of a heart attack at his home in Mumbia. His daughter Ingrid is an artist and musician who lives in New York, and his nephew Valentine is a singer/songwriter in India.

Thanks to Derek Taylor at Bagatellen for the information.

Catalog number TAEC. 1648 on Odeon / EMI for The Gramophone Co. of India, released 1970.