Music lovers can now access the voices of a bygone era in digital format through an online archive of old and rare gramophone recordings.
The website, www.archiveofindianmusic.org, the brainchild of author-singer Vikram Sampath, was formally launched at a function in New Delhi Tuesday evening. It went online on pilot basis in January this year.
Mr. Sampath collected these gramophone recordings from flea markets and scrap dealers, digitised them, and made them available on the website.
“It is a moment of celebration for music lovers who now have access to legendary voices. It should become movement and more youngsters should participate,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who launched the website, said.
Aimed at saving vintage recordings for future generations, the archive is an online museum of sorts with gramophone recordings spanning from 1902 to 1952 of legendry singers like Bhimsen Joshi, Devika Rani, Abdul Karim Khan, Hirabai Barodekar and Madurai Mani Iyer.
“It is an attempt to democratise the cultural heritage,” said Mr. Sampath.
Also present at the launch function was Padma Vibhshan recipient classical dancer Sonal Mansingh, who said the country needed more such initiatives. “Our cultural heritage is slipping away from our hands. I hope our younger generation addresses this problem and protects the tangible heritage,” she said.
“Someone who is passionate about dancing should do something similar to what he (Sampath) has done,” she added.
Mr. Sampath was supported by T.V. Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education, in this endeavour.