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TONFERNS CREATIONS

TONFERNS CREATIONS
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

First Portable Reel to Reel Tape Recorder at Cumbiem Morod.


First Portable Reel to Reel
Tape Recorder at Cumbiem Morod

              The first portable reel-to-reel tape recorder ever to make an appearance in our village of Cumbiem Morod during the early 1960's in Guirim, Bardez, Goa, happened to be in our humble abode - a house built by my father Diniz Fernandes. But how could a humble abode afford a reel-to-reel tape-recorder?

              During that era, this awesome invention was far ahead of its time to match our humble home. However, poor as we were though, my older brother had the good fortune to work in Beirut, Lebanon, in the early 1960's. On his first annual home leave, he had brought a Philips portable transistor radio, and on his second, a Philips portable tape-recorder - a replica of the one in the picture above. 

               This machine was very simple to operate. It had an external microphone for recording, playback, fast-forward and rewind buttons, recording meter, and volume control. It was powered by standard size 'D' batteries. As time went by, I put aside some coins in my piggy bank to save money towards buying batteries that did not come cheap.

               The first person ever to have her voice recorded on this wonderful and incredible gadget was young Martha Fernandes (wife of Joseph Fernandes). Her voice was recorded when she sang 'Whispering Hope' and also 'How much is that doggie in the window'. Martha well deserved to have her voice recorded - because, not only did she have a nice voice, but she also knew all the lyrics to the songs as well.

              We had a lot of fun with this great machine in the village, recording and playing back songs that we sang. However, we were allowed to do that only during school holidays. The recorder was kept under lock and key at other times - in the big wooden double-door 'almirah with a mirror'. The following were my folks' strict instructions to me at the time: "Study first, then record and play". As they would say in Konkani: 'Poilo iskolak voch, lissaum kor ani maguir taping kor.' 

              The advantage with this splendid invention was that it could be taken anywhere. Once I had recorded 'Laudainha' being sung by our folks in our village chapel. But we could record only a small portion of it to be replayed later - after the full Litany had ended. The length of the tape was far too short to survive the entire length of our long Laudainh! I had only 2 tapes, each with half an hour of play-time on each side. Hence I couldn't record much. Unfortunately, sometimes we had to erase previous tapings by recording over old tracks.

              Many years later, however, another invention called the cassette tape-recorder appeared everywhere on the scene, long after I boarded the famous B.I. Steamship 'Sirdhana' to work in Dubai.


'Memories are Made of This'



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