A friend of mine from my hometown Manchester, U.K. told me two days ago of a group of his friends who’ve been collecting old Punjabi Vinyl Records for the past few years now. They now have a garage full of them, he said. For quite a long time, they’ve been meeting up with The Gramophone Company/HMV/Sa Re Ga Ma to achieve their one and only dream: bring Manak, Yamla Bindrakhia etc. back to life.
The records in their collection are many unheard of and never to be found anywhere on the Internet. A few of them include Surinder Shinda’s Bhagat Singh, Kuldip Manak’s Chhadiye Na Vairi Nu, Ustad Lal Chand Yamla Jatt’s Ajj Din Shagna Da, and Surjeet Bindrakhia’s Main Gabhru Punjab Dha.
I met one of the “dreamers” named James Singh, a Youtube channelist, last week in a coffee shop in Manchester. Hailing from Los Angeles, he’s come to England to meet up with his buddies.
“They told me to come over and take care of our record collection, because they were leaving for India to make a settlement with HMV,” he said. “I first met them on the net, in 2008. Then we met in-person in Punjab. They had a big collection of records before I even got into the game. I never thought that our hobbies will take us to a professional level. We’re even ready to establish our own music company.”
The conversation went on talking about their collection, but I was more interested in knowing more about their idea of a music company.
“We’re going to establish an official music company here in the U.K. It will release old Punjabi albums dating from the 1960’s to even the 1990’s. All albums that we’ll be releasing will not be repeats. The albums we have in our collection are forgotten, lost, hidden gems of hit Bhangra artists like Kuldip Manak, Surinder Shinda, Surjeet Bindrakhia, Yamla Jatt, and even A.S. Kang.”
I was quite engaged in the conversation now, and I couldn’t wait to ask when the music company will be launched.
“We first need to get permission from companies like HMV, and we will need to make an agreement with them over the profits we’ll be making by selling these albums. But you’ve known us for years now, Roop, and you know that we’re not doing this to make any profit out of it. We’re doing this to save these few dozen albums from extinction. For a long time, HMV has been releasing mixed track albums. Every Manak fan knows that Chheti Kar Sarwan Bacha is not a real-Manak album; that song was originally released in the album Ik Tara. From that small trend, we’ve lost dozens of other albums. Plans are to convert these Vinyl Records to MP3 music files and get them on CD’s. But since we’re all going digital now, we may just end up selling the MP3’s on Amazon or something. We’ll see what we can do.”
I sure wish the team best of luck, and hope that they very soon get permission and launch their music company. But for now, I’m your Roop Dhillon, promising to return very soon with more news on this topic.