MISS GAUHAR JAN
by Michael Kinnear
Gauhar Jan, Seated Center, with Nauch Girls, c.1800’s
Courtesy: Columbia University in the City of New York
78 rpm shellac records of Miss Gauhar Jan produced from ‘The Second Far Eastern Recording Tour’ of The Gramophone Co. Ltd.,1904 -1905, Led by William Sinkler Darby and assisted by Max Hampe
The 10-inch ‘h’ suffix Series
Gramophone Concert Record, Matrix 2588h, Catalogue No. GC-13856
GAUHAR JAN, Aan Baan Jiya Mein Lago – GARA (THUMRI) [HINDUSTANI]
‘Miss Gauhar Jan (born Angelina Yeoward; 26 June 1873 – 17 January 1930) was an Indian singer and dancer from Kolkata. She was one of the first performers to record music on 78 rpm records in India, which was later released by The Gramophone Company Ltd., of India. Having recorded more than 600 songs in more than ten languages between 1902 and 1920, Gauhar Jan is credited with popularizing Hindustani classical music such as thumri, dadra, kajri, and tarana during the period.’ (Wikipedia)
‘Perhaps the best selling ‘gramophone celebrity’ of the time, Miss Gauhar Jan of Calcutta, declined to be contracted to any recording company and provided her recordings to the various sound recording concerns on a strictly ‘cash’ basis – without any consideration for ‘royalties’ on sales, this is despite the fact that some of her recordings may well have sold in very considerable quantities.’
The 10-inch ‘h’ suffix Series
Gramophone Concert Record, Matrix 2585h, Catalogue No: GC-13842
GAUHAR JAN, Nahak Laye Gawanwa Mora – BHAIROBI THUMRI [HINDUSTANI]
The Opening of The Gramophone Co. Ltd.’s factory at Sealdah, Calcutta
on 18th December, 1908
“On 18th December 1908, the new Sealdah, Calcutta factory of The Gramophone Company Limited was officially opened with an ‘At Home’ celebration to which a large and distinguished number of guests were invited. For the occasion, Frederick William Gaisberg and other senior managers of the London office were in attendance. Fred Gaisberg must have been quite pleased to see what had developed since his first recording tour of 1902, and to the extent to which the company had grown in India.
A highlight of the ‘At Home’ celebrations to open the Sealdah factory, or “Baja-Khana” as the locals had come to refer to the new building, was a recital by Miss Gauhar Jan, the company’s foremost recording celebrity, who was amongst the first to have had disc recordings taken in India.
The opening of the Sealdah factory of The Gramophone Company, Ltd., in India, was also a milestone in the history of the company, and followed the opening of the company’s factory in Britain by a few months. In 1906 the company had purchased a fifty-acre site at Hayes, Middlesex, for which Nellie Melba had laid the foundation stone in May 1907. The first discs came off the presses in June 1908, and by August the 28 presses were manufacturing nearly 30,000 disc records per month.”
Below are some rare and previously unpublished photos of the Gauhar Jan taken at the recital of the opening of The Gramophone Co. Ltd.’s factory at Sealdah, on 18th December, 1908.
Gauhar Jan preparing for the performance
Guests for the occasion gathered around the stage to hear Gauhar Jan sing.
Frederick William Gaisberg and other senior managers of the London office were in attendance.
Opening of The Gramophone Co. Ltd., Factory, Sealdah, 18th December, 1908
Above photos from: Michael Kinnear Collection
Gauhar Jan from: ‘The Music Goes Round’ by Fred Gaisberg, Arno Press, New York, 1977. Photograph by Arthur Clark, c.1913. Gauhar Jan with the same musicians at the recital Opening of The Gramophone Co. Ltd.,’s Factory, Sealdah, 18-12-1908
The Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd., Bengali Catalogue, 1906
From: The Gramophone Company’s First Indian Recordings, 1899-1907, Page 26
The text for the Gauhar Jan discography compiled by Michael Kinnear has been taken from the original published version in the ‘The Record News’, Volume 9, January 1993
This is a very rare example of the ROYAL RECORD
Permission by Amar Nath Sharma, Mumbai
Gauhar Jan, GC-13856
Aan Baan Jiya Mein Lago- GARA TUMRI [HINDUSTANI]
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