Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gramophone Museum born on 25th Ann of CDs

Source: , 27 Aug 2007

Guwahati, Aug 27: With the international entertainment industry celebrating the 25th anniversary of Compact Discs in the worldwide market this year, Assam witnessed the birth of the only Gramophone Museum of the region.

''I was not aware of this coincidence. It has been my passion to collect old Gramophone records and this year I organised this more systematically so as to give it a shape of a mini museum,'' said Umananda Duwarah, curator and owner of this unique museum.

His unusual hobby and the resultant museum had forced all music lovers of the region to sit up and take notice.

''It has been a great mission and I am glad to see some of my original records in his collection,'' said legendary Assamese folk singer Bhupen Hazarika.

All of Bhupen Hazarika's tracks were recorded in Gramophone records and later onto LP records. He had not seen them for 30 years and was quite emotional to touch these records.

''Many of the songs had been lost to eternity, many resurrected in the audio format as well as CD format but Umamanda Duwara took pain in travelling all around Assam for the past 10 years to collect more than 1,600 gramophone records to set up this museum at Moran, about 440 kms from Guwahati,'' a joyous Bhupen Hazarika said.

''I used to love hearing them and soon it turned into a passion and found that there was no storage facility anywhere in the Northeast. When even audio tapes are slowly withdrawn from the market, these gramophone records are simply of immense value,'' the curator said.

He began by using one room in his house to display some of his rarest collection of records while preserving the others in a scientifically-protected environment to stop further damage to the records.

The museum was formally inaugurated in January this year by Manisha Hazarika, another noted singer of the state, after being encouraged by the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra. According to Mr Duwarah, who is a painter by profession, amongst the 1,600 gramphone records he had collected, 400 of them were Assamese.

Besides, he also had 11 Gramphone machine, each in good condition.

He finds delight in playing them to his visitors, who are amused to hear the original tracks of some of the legendary songs. He had also collected the first ever Assamese song track that was recorded in the early 20s.

''What he has done is just too invaluable. Spending his own time and resources he has resurrected the whole of Assamese music industry. This should have been done by government or some related institutions but he has done it all by himself,'' said secretary of the Sankardev Kalakshetra Gautam Sharma, who has supported Mr Duwarh through his journey.

His collection also included the famous Lakahinath Bezbarua's song ''O Mor Aponar Desh'', the patriotic song which came close to becoming the national anthem after independence.

According to Mr Duwarah, the museum is opened for visitors only on Saturday and Sunday afternoon but for long distance visits, the Museum is opened any time of the day if proper appointments are arranged.