There was a time when you wanted to enjoy music, the options were limited. The only audio source was the radio. Most of the time it was AIR (All India Radio), or if one had a good band spread (like a five band radio) then one was lucky to get Radio Ceylon or VOA (Voice of America) or the BBC.
Coming back to the AIR, I enjoyed listening to some selected programs and one of them was a fifteen minute slot for instrumentals. Somehow I always preferred instrumental to the actual singing. Some of the famous instrumental players of those times were Enoch Daniels on the accordion and Van Shipley on the guitar. It was a pleasure to listen to them, even during the time when there were no stereo recordings.
As for the accordion I always wondered how they coordinated the movements of pressing the keys with the right hand and the bass buttons with the left hand. And that puts a thought in my mind, how does a left handed guy play an accordion?
Recently I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Enoch Daniels by a mutual friend. When I told him about being his fan, he narrated his story about how he almost joined the Indian Army, till one of his close friends pointed out about the choice of career and his God given gift of creating music.
That made him think twice about joining the Army and from there on it was smooth sailing for him. He was one of the first to introduce the accordion in India.
Here he is with Van Shipley and Talat Mehmood during one of their trips to Europe.
I think he is the only artist who was selected by Columbia to cut 40 records (all solo) This was after he was ‘noticed’ during his performance at the Royal Albert Hall London.
With Mohammed Rafi, one of the best singers India had.
I must say he looks good and moves around very briskly for a person who is almost eighty. He was ready to change location for a better background when our mutual friend tried to click us.
I wanted the pictures to be sort of ‘candid’ but it turned out that I was the only one looking candid while Enoch did not play his part of being ‘candid’ :-)
The background here is the 145 year old St Paul’s church in Pune, one of the well maintained churches that I have seen.
More on the church and the 100 year old pipe organ in my next post.