Songs from the British library

After the Great Uprising of 1857, the re-establishment and deeper penetration of the British colonial state in India resulted in the systematic collection of knowledge about things and people Indian. This period witnessed the planning and execution of several big surveys: the Archaeological Survey, the Geological Survey, and perhaps most ambitiously, a Linguistic Survey of the Indian Empire (LSI). In all 179 languages and 544 dialects in the Indian Empire, excluding some portions (Burma, Hyderabad and Mysore states and the Presidency of Madras) were described in the survey, published between 1903-1928. Here are a few songs recorded during the survey.

Song in Ahirwati by Husseina of Delhi (1920) :  Download

Song in Brajbhasha by Bhudeva of Muttra (Mathura) (1920) :  Download

Song in Bhojpuri by Balram Prasad Mishra Rais of Basti (1920) :  Download

Song in Bundeli by Babu Raghunath Prasad of Jhansi (1920) :  Download

All the above recordings were made in Allahabad in 1920. It appears that not all singers were professionally equipped for the task. Instead important people from various districts were called to Allahabad and asked to sing songs and poems, and also tell stories prevalent in their respective regions.

More to come.

.. read about the British Raj and Indian classical music »

indianraga

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11 Comments

  1. virendra singh verma said,

    October 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    RECENT TIMES OF INDIA REPORTED OF THIS LIGUISTIC SURVEY REPORT DURING BRITISH RAJ AND IT BEING AVAILABLE TO COMMON MAN
    BUT LEFT NO TRAIL OF FINDING IT
    HERE IS OUR SHRI NARADA,THE INDIAN RAGA,MAKING THIS AVAILABLE TO US
    QUENCHING OUR THIRST
    CONSISTENT EFFORTS 7X24
    MAY GOD BLESS YOU

  2. indianraga said,

    October 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I read it too. Hence this post. Thanks for being a regular visitor Verma ji. :-)

  3. sharbori said,

    October 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    thanks for this effort.

  4. October 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Amazing collection! Thanks a lot for uploading these. I didn’t know that recording facility was available at that time in India. I have listened to the rendition of Raga Shuddh Kalyan by Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, however, said to be recorded in 1928. These recordings are nearly a decade older than that. Thanks once again.

  5. indianraga said,

    October 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    There are recordings that are as early as 1902. Some of them are posted on this blog. Find a few in this post :

    http://indianraga.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/songs-of-the-nautch-girls/

  6. James Simon said,

    October 25, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    The complete gramophone recordings can be found via the Digital South Asia Library.

  7. virendra singh verma said,

    October 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    for an inquisitive novice like me how and where to find DIGITAL SOUTH ASIA LIBRARY. PRAY HELP

  8. indianraga said,

    October 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks, James. I am giving the link :

    http://dsal.uchicago.edu/

    Let us all hope the site does not shut down because of over-drainage of bandwidth. It did a few days back too.

  9. virendra singh verma said,

    October 29, 2010 at 5:27 am

    http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/lsi

    THIS IS THEEXACT NOMENCLATURE

  10. virendra singh verma said,

    October 29, 2010 at 5:28 am

    THE CORRECT VERSION

    http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/lsi

  11. virendra singh verma said,

    October 29, 2010 at 5:38 am

    THE SAID SITE IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT AND CLOSED FOR SOME TIME


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