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Recording the history of RECORDS

Collector and music aficionado Lars Fredriksson is in the city. T. K. SADASIVAN catches up with him in the course of his musical journey


GRAMOPHONE RECORDS are now part of history. No one manufactures them in India, in these days of digital music. Only antique dealers now sell them. The buyers, who are mostly collectors, have to pay a premium price for their favourite records.

But there are a few who believe that the most undiluted form of music is preserved in the records, especially in the 78-rpm records. Lars Fredriksson, a Swedish national, is one such person who is of the opinion that music is also an endangered species in these times of globalisation. He is presently in Kochi looking for early 78 rpm records and tracing the history of Indian music. "The least diluted tradition of music is stored in the 78 rpm records since there was less interference especially in its early days," says Mr. Fredriksson, a trained librarian from Stockholm.


And to preserve the purest form of music he has launched a web site www.bolingo.org. Interestingly, it is the largest discography on the Internet.

The Web site www.bolingo.org claims `you will find many things that has to do with sounds and music'. But it contains much more than that. Other topics included are Resources on Music, various cultural histories, resources on entomology, Retro Audio, Chinese architecture, and early gramophone industry etc. "The performer is always exploited by those who consider music as a consumer good. Now they are getting off even at the musicians," adds Lars. By pooling the vast private collections from all over the world, the website aims to act as a large storehouse of information on music which is not western. It is loaded with information on Arabic, African and Chinese music. Mr. Lars himself is a good collector of music records and recordings, having more than six hundred Chinese records that are prior to 1930. He believes, "The best way to collect is to share. Friends of similar mindset is my back up. Duplicate with people - that is my philosophy."

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