India’s Only Gramophone Museum!
With extraordinary consideration, Sunny Mathew removes a shellac record from a blurred sleeve, wipes it tenderly, and respectfully puts it on the turntable of a vintage gramophone. Choosing a needle from a dusty box, he fixes it on the leader of the player and tenderly drops it on the record. Radiant’s face breaks into a wide grin as the quieted buzzing of the turntable offers a path to a scratchy, sharp tune from another period.
“That is 14-year-old Soshi Mukhi, a nautch young lady from Classic Theater, making history in a studio in Calcutta on November 8, 1902, for Frederick Gaisberg of The Gramophone Company. The first recorded music in Quite a while was this present young person’s since none of the presumed artists in Calcutta consented to have their voices recorded — they thought about it underneath them. In any case, when they heard Soshi’s chronicle, they immediately adjusted their perspectives and Gauhar Jaan agreed to sing,”.
As the record winds to a stop, Sunny takes it out, places it back in its sleeve, and keeps it on a rack close to a few such records. Next comes an interesting ethical quality play set in homeroom in provincial Kerala. Bright picks records, in a steady progression, to grandstand the range and assorted variety of his assortment. Show and film tunes in Tamil, gospel music in Malayalam, grabs of Carnatic melodies sung by legends, addresses of extraordinary pioneers, Tagore discussing the national song of praise, numerous forms of Vande Mataram…
In rich and green Pala, in the core of manor nation in Kerala’s Kottayam locale, is Disks and Machines — Sunny’s Gramophone Museum and Records Archive, an astounding assortment of vintage records housed in a twofold storeyed, cooled working with a chamber. It is a fortune trove with in excess of a lakh gramophone circle, of which around 75% are 78 rpm shellac records, chamber records, and wire records; there are likewise in excess of 260 gramophones.
The gramophones incorporate outer botanical horn models, table models, bureau models, Decca models (bag), pocket types, youngsters’ toy gramophones, phonographs for playing chamber records, electrical players, and wire recorders. The most punctual in his assortment dates to 1897.
Floor-to-roof metal racks spread the principal floor, stacked with records of various types, flawlessly classified and organized. Radiant has additionally recorded the historical backdrop of catching and safeguarding sound and its numerous achievements in India on long flex sheets that are held tight racks, every one of them structured by Sunny himself.
Photos of innovators, researchers, industrialists, and artists, individuals who enhanced the accounting scene, have pride in a spot in the exhibition hall. Indeed, even Francis Barraud’s painting of Nipper the canine tuning into a record, which later proceeded to turn into the logo of record mark HMV, finds a spot. On the subsequent floor are gramophones just as instruments, family unit actualizes, cameras, and sewing machines.
Radiant’s interest in records started in adolescence. “My dad had a little assortment: Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam melodies, Biblical plays and shows that we used to tune in to on HMV’s Model 102 bag gramophone. Those records were a piece of my growing up.
A long time later, luck took me to a swap meet close Madurai where I risked upon a botanical outside horn-type gramophone and some shellac records. I got them for an extremely good price, cleaned them, and found that they were in acceptable condition. I additionally took the records from my hereditary home and that is the means by which my assortment was conceived,”.
Progressively, his assortment developed and he started to frequent swap meets across Kerala and in Bengaluru and Chennai. “I discovered old Tamil and Kannada tunes and show sets in recycled shops in Madurai. A portion of my most established records — melodic shows, for example, Sita Swayamvaram, Prahalada, Kovalan, and Shankuntala — are from that point,” The most seasoned is an 1898 record of an English tune, while a shellac record from 1911 is maybe the most seasoned Malayalam one.
“Not in any case the relatives of these bygone era artists went out of the way to save their records. Some of them caught wind of my historical center and came to Pala to see whether I had accounts. A few years back, an older nobleman visited and became passionate when he heard a record cut by his mom,” reviews Sunny.
Scratches and termites
He is consistently watching out. At whatever point he knows about an old house being destroyed, he visits and perpetually comes back with rich pickings. “I have discovered vintage records in storage rooms, basements, disposed of bags, and cardboard boxes. As of late, I got a valuable assortment of accounts, old cameras, and recorders from an industrialist’s home in Thiruvananthapuram.
He learned through experimentation to clean dusty records and reestablish, regardless of whether incompletely, those with scratches and termites. Turning into an individual from Mumbai-based The Society of Indian Record Collectors helped him comprehend the estimation of his assortment. The general public’s organizer put him in contact with different authorities. “Till at that point, gathering records had been only energy. In any case, at that point, I understood their authentic worth. I connected with Vienna-based Gesellschaft für Historische Tonträger and that is the means by which I turned into an analyst,”
In 2013, after he resigned from the Kerala Forest Development Corporation, he chose to assemble a historical center close to his home. In 2015, he sunk his annuity cash into the structure and the historical center was introduced on January 25. Each commemoration of the gallery is seen with a class on the recording that is gone to by notable names from India and abroad. Radiant has been introducing papers in national and worldwide fora.
To impart the fortunate assortment to fans, he has been transferring a portion of the records on YouTube (sunny78rpmmusic) and furthermore digitizing a piece of his assortment. “It is a careful assignment however I am not whining. These containers are totally loaded up with spools, tapes, and records that I need to sift through,”, highlighting half-opened boxes spilling out wherever in his home.
“I am currently occupied with the digitization of early period chronicles made in India from 1902 to 1927 for British Library’s Endangered Archives Program,”. “My better half and child help me in this uber undertaking to digitize 3,000 chronicles. When the work is finished, the accounts will be transferred by the British Library and made accessible to people in general.”