78 rpm Records of Indian Music: Adu Nath – Been Lahara

This disc contains two short performances by Adu Nath on the been. This “been” is not the rudra vina, but the gourd-mounted double-reed instrument commonly heard in the hands of “snake charmers” all over North India.

The two performances are simply labeled “Been Lahara.” It was obviously a tough instrument to record, as witness the distorted sound. I’m hard-pressed to imagine just who HMV’s marketing division thought was going to buy this disc. Perhaps they were going to try and market it to the tourist trade?

This disc was part of a collection of 78s I acquired serendipitously in the United States.

Anyway, enjoy. I do.

78 rpm Records of Indian Music: Kutchi Songs by Cassum Ranji

Many songs in Indian regional languages were recorded and released on 78 during the first half of the 20th century. Here’s a disc on the Zonophone label of a singer named Cassum Ranji, performing two songs in the Kutchi language. This means that even if I could figure out a single word from the recording, I wouldn’t have a clue. Appropriately enough, the labels, especially that of the B side, are almost unreadable.


Comic Song:

78 rpm Records of Indian Music: Dhirasen of Jodhpur

My wife and I were in Udaipur in 2000, and we discovered a tiny little out-of-the-way junk shop that just happened to have a big stack of old 78 rpm discs for sale. I picked up as much as I could carry. None of the names were ones I recognized; these were all regional songs in Rajasthani, Marwari and Urdu.

Here are two Marwari songs by a lady about whom I know nothing, Dhirasen of Jodhpur. The distorted sound is on the disc; Marwari Records was obviously not a top-of-the-line operation.

I find these recordings mysteriously evocative.