Songs from the British library 2

The gramophone recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India consists of digitized recordings originally collected in South Asia during a period from 1913 until 1929. Intended as a supplement to Sir George A Grierson’s Linguistic Survey of India published between 1904 and 1927, the recordings of stories, songs and poems were collected by provincial and presidential governments of British-ruled India in cooperation with Grierson and the Gramophone Company, Calcutta.

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

Song in Jaunsari by Madho Ram & Nand Ram of Chakrata (1920) :  Download

Song in Kumauni by Chandan Singh of Almora (1920) :  Download

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

.. more songs from the Linguistic Survey of British India »


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 »


Rajasthan : Songs of the Soil

If the majestic forts and palaces are the body of Rajasthan, then the folk music is the soul of the land of the princes. The folk music gives the people of Rajasthan a means of forgetting the tough living conditions in the Desert and even adds a charm to this land. The Rajasthani style of music has made significant contribution in enriching the Indian music as a whole. One finds music of different flavors being sung here, developed according to the customs of the villages. Here we find folklores, hymns in praise of the Lord, tales of chivalry of the Rajput kings, and songs in praise of the Rain God etc.

Ghoonghat :  (Download)

Pachrang Fagniyo :  (Download)

Gauri Mhari :  (Download)

Paglyna Ri Paylari :  (Download)

Saro Nagar Bheej Gayo :  (Download)

Ghadvade Mera Shyam :  (Download)

.. more Songs from Rajasthan »

Comments are welcome.

P.S : As the number of music lovers visiting this blog has increased substantially in recent times, some music files in my previous posts may not play or download, because the allocated bandwidth has been depleted. Please bear with me and wait for a week or so, for the files to be reactivated. Any inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.


Voices along the Ganges : Saints & Beggars

The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India’s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India’s civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man…
Jawaharlal Nehru in Discovery of India

Twenty centuries ago, the essential role of music of India was deemed to be purely ritualistic. Much part of Indian music is folk music. Indian classical music is said to have evolved out of the fusion of these. It is presumed that folk music existed long before the Aryans in India. Indian classical music has become unique in the world.

Hindustani music is an enveloping influence in Indian life. It pervades the big and small events of Indian life, from the birth of the child to it’s death, religious rites and seasonal festivals. Originally, not all developments of music were transformed to writing. To keep their traditional integrity, they were imparted orally from master to pupil : the Guru Shishya tradition in gurukul.

Winding 2,510 km across northern India, from the Himalaya Mountains to the Indian Ocean, the Ganges river is NOT just a flowing body of H2O (water), but a whole culture and way of life to India. Innumerable stories, plays, songs, movies, history is woven along the wild journey of this mighty river. From the small but wild Himalayan birth to the mighty, fast paced or silent journey into the fertile Indo Gangetic Plain, and cities of Allahabad, Benaras, Patna and Kolkata, the Ganga is a major contributor to the political history and spiritual culture of this subcontinent.

Gangotri – Ganga Stuti :  (Download)

Kanpur – Nautanki :  (Download)

Mirzapur – Badhaiyya :  (Download)

Voices along the Ganges‘ is an effort to take the listener on an odyssey down the river Ganges, from Gangotri to Kolkata. The rich music, a fusion of various instruments, permeates the senses infiltrating them with a soulful confluence. The compositions have been beautifully woven around a meditative pattern ranging from soft to rhythmic and highly energetic.

Mirzapur – Gauna :  (Download)

Mirzapur – Kajri :  (Download)

We will travel further south and savour more of the Gangesflavour‘ in my future posts.

Enjoy !!