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Umananda Duwarah and the only Gramophone Museum of Assam
A painter by profession, Umananda Duwarah from Moran, has been dedicating
significant amount of time and money into his passion for music through out his life.
All his efforts and passions have not only satisfied his thirst for music, but also helped
music lovers of whole Assam and North-East India when he opened the only Gramophone
Museum in 2007. He is a true curator of this cultural heritage. His museum has over 1,600 gramophone
records that include the original voices of Jyotiprasad, Bishnu Rabha
and Phani Sarma,
besides the original record of the first Assamese recorded song of 1942. The Assamese music
world is thankful to his commendable job.
Following article on Umananda Duwarah is taken from Telegraph - 27 August 2007
With the international entertainment industry celebrating the 25th anniversary of
Compact Discs in the worldwide market this year, Assam witnessed the birth of the
only Gramophone Museum of the region.
"I was not aware of this coincidence. It has been my passion to collect old
Gramophone records and this year I organised this more systematically so as to
give it a shape of a mini museum," said Umananda Duwarah,
curator and owner of this unique museum.
His unusual hobby and the resultant museum had forced all music lovers of the region
to sit up and take notice.
"It has been a great mission and I am glad to see some of my original records in his
collection," said legendary Assamese singer
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika.
All of Bhupen Hazarika's tracks were recorded in Gramophone records and later onto LP
records. He had not seen them for 30 years and was quite emotional to touch these records.
"Many of the songs had been lost to eternity, many resurrected in the audio format as well
as CD format but Umamanda Duwara took pain in travelling all around Assam for the past 10
years to collect more than 1,600 gramophone records to set up this museum at Moran,
about 440 kms from Guwahati," a joyous Bhupen Hazarika said.
"I used to love hearing them and soon it turned into a passion and found that there
was no storage facility anywhere in the Northeast. When even audio tapes are slowly
withdrawn from the market, these gramophone records are simply of immense value,"
Mr Duwarah said.
He began by using one room in his house to display some of his rarest collection of
records while preserving the others in a scientifically-protected environment to stop
further damage to the records.
The museum was formally inaugurated in January this year by Manisha Hazarika,
another noted singer of the state, after being encouraged by the Srimanta Sankardev
Kalakshetra. According to Mr Duwarah, who is a painter by profession, amongst the 1,600
gramphone records he had collected, 400 of them were Assamese.
Besides, he also had 11 Gramphone machine, each in good condition.
He finds delight in playing them to his visitors, who are amused to hear the original
tracks of some of the legendary songs. He had also collected the first ever Assamese song
track that was recorded in the early 20s.
"What he has done is just too invaluable. Spending his own time and resources he has
resurrected the whole of Assamese music industry. This should have been done by government
or some related institutions but he has done it all by himself," said secretary of the
Sankardev Kalakshetra Gautam Sharma, who has supported Mr Duwarh through his journey.
His collection also included the famous Lakshminath Bezbarua's song "O Mor Aponar Desh",
the patriotic song which came close to becoming the national anthem after independence.
According to Mr Duwarah, the museum is opened for visitors only on Saturday and
Sunday afternoon but for long distance visits, the Museum is opened any time of the
day if proper appointments are arranged.
For more info on the Museum, you can mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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