DD launches rare series to mark music centenary

DELHI: The first ever `native' recording in India, done professionally by the engineers of the Gramophone Company, England - one of the two major companies in this field during the acoustic era - was in 1902. Pubcaster Doordarshan plans to celebrate the centenary year of the historical event by launching a series of DVDs/VCDs and ACDs of their best programmes preserved in their archives.

The first set of VCDs and ACDs will be released in the second week of January. The VCDs feature some of the rare pieces, perhaps the only ones of their kind that exist anywhere in the country and perhaps the world.

The digitally mastered VCDs, to be released by DD, feature the only visual record available of Begum Akhtar singing in a mehfil;sufiana qawwalis by Habib Painter; Shankar Shambhu and Sabri Brothers giving their characteristic healing touch to the confused psyche of the common Indian; and a compilation of some of the great performers of Bharatnatyam and Kathak.

The VCDs have been introduced by Pt. Jasraj, Naushad, Shobhana and Pt. Birju Maharaj. The music VCDs will also come out in the format of audio CDs and audio cassettes.

The ubiquitous gramophone was first introduced in India in the early 1900s but the gramophone record seems to have lost its battle against time and innovations like the audiocassette and compact discs. But the romance of the gramophone and its music still lingers, something a purist cannot associate with the new gadgets.

The later half of the 20th century and the 21st century brought a bouquet of technical fetes/miracles to India, which changed the world. The technology of recording voices has had a everlasting impact on the way one hears voices and sees moving pictures.

DD seems to be paying a timely tribute to the journey from 1902 to 2002 that has witnessed tremendous improvements in deploying the technology to celebrate the spirit of this great singing and dancing nation.

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