MALKA JAN AGRAWALE – Discography – by Michael Kinnear


MALKA JAN AGRAWALE of Agra and Calcutta

by Michael Kinnear

Malka Jan - Nagri Catalogue, 1905

Malka Jan Agrawale of Agra and Calcutta
The Gramophone Company Ltd. Nagri Catalogue, March, 1908
from: “The Gramophone Company’s Indian Recordings,1908-1910”, Page 119


Malka Jan Agrawale of Agra and Calcutta, Raga Mand: DADRA, 1909

The announcement at the end of the above recording: “My name is Malka Jan of  Calcutta”. 

There is very little precise or factual information about the life of Miss Malka Jan Agrawale of Agra and Calcutta, but is said to be from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh  a state in northern India.

Malka Jan developed a new style of thumri singing using the full power of ones voice. Proficient and accomplished in different musical formats, from dhrupad, khayal, to thumri, she was equally adept at hori chaite kajri and ghazal singing.  At the end of each record Malka Jan announced: “My name is Malka Jan” and either from Agra or Calcutta.

‘Exclusive Contracts’

Quote from: “The Gramophone Company’s Indian Recordings, 1908-1910”, Page 8

“Of major concern to The Gramophone & Typewriter, Ltd., was the fact that several of their best selling artists were providing recordings to the rival companies, including a selection of the same songs that were available as ‘Gramophone’ labelled discs.  While it is also true that some artists had also provided recordings to other recording companies – before they were recorded by The Gramophone & Typewriter, Ltd., the company took the view that the only way to control these artists was to try and commit the best artists to an ‘exclusive’ recording contract, thereby eliminating the opportunity of the better artists offering their talents to the rival companies.

The first artists to be contracted as ‘exclusive’ recording artists of The Gramophone & Typewriter, Ltd., were Peara Saheb of Calcutta, and Miss Malka Jan of Agra. ” 

It is documented by The Gramophone Company & Typewriter, Ltd. that Miss Malka Jan Agrawale resided at 27 Mott’s Lane, Calcutta in 1907 and had a “Contract” to record with “The Gramophone & Typewriter, Ltd.” dated 14 February 1907.

Gramophone Concert Record, Malka Jan, AGRA10 inch – Gramophone Concert Record, 1908

His Master Voice Records - 10 inchHMV Catalogue, 10-inch Records, Malka Jan HMV Catalogue, 10-inch Records, Malka Jan

Beka Grand Record, Miss MulkaJan, No. 1574

10 inch Beka-Grand-Record
White Label, Early Style, 1906

10 inch Beka-Record Catalogue, 1930, Malka Jan

10 inch – Zonophone Record
An original issue in the N-series, January, 1915

Zonophone Record Catalogue, Malka Jan, 1921

Zonophone Record Catalogue, Malka Jan, 1921

Ajano Double Face Record - Malka Jan

The Austrian electrical contracting company A. Janowitzer and Co., with offices in Vienna and Calcutta, had introduced Bengali and Hindustani recordings on the Ajano Record Label. The full scope of releases on the “Ajano Double-Face Record” is not known, but the label includes recordings by the legendary vocalist Miss Malka Jan Agrawale.
from “The Gramophone Company’s First Indian Recordings, 1899-1907”, Page 67.

Malka Jan, Twin Record, July 1932

Twin Record, July 1932
Malka Jan, His Master's Voice, April 1921

His Master’s Voice, April 1921

For the recording sessions of Malka Jan Agrawale of Agra and Calcutta

Beka Grand Record
Wilhelm Hadert, Series 1415+ India,  Bombay, 1905
Wilhelm Hadert, Calcutta, Series, 20010+ India, Calcutta, 1907

The Gramophone Company Ltd.
William Conrad Gaisberg, Suffix e, Calcutta, Dec 1907
Frederick William Gaisberg, Suffix o, Calcutta, April 1908
George Walter Dillnut, Suffix o, Calcutta, 5-14 Aug 1908
George Walter Dillnut, Suffix o, Calcutta,  2-25 Sep 1909
George Walter Dillnut, Suffix o, Calcutta, Zonophone, 20 Oct – 12 Nov 1910
Max Hampe, Suffix r, Calcutta,  Sept-Oct 1911
Max Hampe, Suffix r, (Puzzle Records) Nov 1911

Ajano Double-Face Record, 90000 Series, Calcutta, 1910


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Michael Kinnear as a consultant to and Project Supervisor of Indian Historical Recordings Project on behalf of The Gramophone Co. of India Ltd., Dum Dum, officiated at EMI Music Archives, Hayes, transferring original Indian 78 rpm shellac records from the early 1900’s to Digital Audio Tape format. The CD series was released as the “CHAIRMAN’S CHOICE’ in 1994. 

A sample of Michael Kinnear’s Indian Historical Recordings Sheets for Malka Jan – Agra, recording 28 tracks of Malka Jan for the project.

Agrawale of Agra and Calcutta

Malka Jan, Raga Sawan: DADRA, 1909

The announcement at the end of the above recording: “My name is Malka Jan of  Agra”. 

CHAIRMAN’S CHOICE Great Memories Gauhar Jan / Malka Jan
Gauhar Jan [Disc One] (18 selections – Recorded 1902, 1904, 1905)
Malka Jan [Disc Two] (18 selections – Recorded 1907, 1909)
Double Compact Disc.  EMI 2CD CMC-1-82517-18 UK 1994
Double Cassette .HMV CMC 882517-18 India 1994

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