Deben Bhattacharya – vinyl discography

Here’s a first draft of a vinyl discography of the late great Deben Bhattacharya, who wandered Europe and Asia with a microphone and a tape recorder in the second half of the 20th century. It’s often said that he produced some 130 albums, so this collection (around 80) has more holes in it than my winter socks.

Not just holes. Putting a date to the records’ issue has been tricky, sometimes impossible. Knowing what’s on some of the records and whether tracks are repeated elsewhere on another label is currently beyond me. For the time (correct me if I’m wrong) he seems to have had an almost unique independence, issuing the fruits of one field trip on up to half a dozen different labels.

And it’s not that it was just smart marketing of the same tracks in different countries. The more I look, the more it seems that each label usually got its own original tracks for their compilations.

A lot of them, of course, were on Argo. He clearly had a special relationship with the label’s founder Harley Usill and with producer Kevin Daly. But then, what’s struck me in starting to put this together is the number of labels across Europe and the USA who were into issuing his (and other people’s) field recordings a long, long time before someone dreamt up the idea of ‘world music’.

The Argo ‘Living Tradition’ albums are the most traceable, but there were (so I understand) over 25 for the Dutch label Philips, about the same number for the French labels Boite à Musique and Le Club Français du Disque, up to a dozen for the Swedish label Caprice…

Which brings me back to the holes. That’s where you come in. You’re probably sitting there with dozens of his albums on your shelves…

If you are, help me out, so I can make the necessary additions and corrections.

I haven’t barely touched the audio cassettes, a fair few of which are listed here. Happily, and rarely for an Argo artist/producer, loads of his stuff has been reissued on CD by labels like ARC and Fremaux. Check them out.

Some of the album titles are in a larger face. Click on them and they’ll take you to more information.

I’m slowly putting together a companion list of his field trips, which may, or may not, clarify what’s in the discography. It’s been done for Alan Lomax, so why not?

There are some brief biographical details of Deben Bhattacharya here, which lead to more detail if you’re interested.

Thanks to collaborators: lars/bolingo, gadaya…

Music from India – Songs from Bombay

Argo RG 61-62

Musique Populaire de l’Inde du Nord – Chants et danses

Contrepoint, Paris, MC 20.110

Issued in cooperation with the Paris Musee de l’Homme’s Ethnic Music Dept. Edited by the Department’s G. Rouget.

Folk Songs and Dances of North India

Period SPL 1614

One of several albums issued by the US Period label in cooperation with the Paris Musee de l’Homme’s Ethnic Music Department. It’s an American re-issue of the Contrepoint album above.

folk songs and dances northern india period front folk music of northern india period back
Music on the Desert Road

Angel 33513

Music from Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan recorded in 1955-6 on an overland trip from the UK to India.

music desert road angel front Angel_35515_back_ed Angel_35515_label_A_ed Angel_35515_label_B_edAngel_35515_folder_00_front_back_ed Angel_35515_map_ed
Songs and Rhythms of Bengal

The Record Society Ltd (UK), RSX 7

I’m pretty sure the three BAM LPs listed below were released in 1958 (or even before), as I’ve seen them reviewed in magazines in January 1959. If you can confirm or otherwise, please let me know.  
Musique Religieuse de l’Inde 

Boite a Musique BAM LD 015

BAMLD015_front BAMLD015_back BAMLD015_label_A BAMLD015_label_B
Musique Traditionelle de l’Inde

Boite a Musique BAM LD 014

BAM_014_Musique traditionelles de l'Inde_frontBAM_014_Traditionelles_Inde_back BAM_014_face_A BAM_014_face_B
Chants de Bengale

Boite a Musique BAM 310

In Israel Today Vol 1

Westminster Collectors Series WF 12026 


In Israel Today Vol 2

Westminster Collectors Series WF 12027 

The orange and red cover is from the original release. Don’t know how much later the other re-issue is. Or was it just a deluxe version?


in israel today westminster p1010960
In Israel Today Vol 3

Westminster Collectors Series WF 12028 


In Israel Today Vol 4

Westminster Collectors Series WF 12029 


A Gypsy Festival

Westminster WF 12030 and WWM 79102

Items of ensemble music performed at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, France: secular and religious songs, the chanting during a procession to the sea, vocal and guitar music from camp and cafe performances.

Music of Western Asia

USA, Westminster WF 12033

Recordings from Macedonia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India.

Music of the Oriental Jews – Visages d’Israel

France, Boite a Musique BAM V1 901
Classical Ragas of India

Mercury SR 90481

Pelerinage Gitan aux Saintes Maries de la Mer – Manitas de Plata

France, Disques Vogue LVLX 261 (1960?)

pelerinage gitan
Rythmes et Melodies d’Iran

Club Francais du Disque CFD 284

Rythmes et Melodies du Bengale

Club Francais du Disque (1962?)
rythmes et melodies du bengale clun francais du disque
Rythmes et Melodies du Monde Gitan

Club National du Disque, CND 2451 (1962?)

Side A
(Roumanie et Hongrie)
Danse Rapide
Romance Gitane, aux cimbales
Je vais traivailler aux champs
Czardas Gitanes
”Dieu, ouvre les frontieres”
Musique de cafe Hongroise

Side B
(Les Saintes Maries de la Mer)
Descente de la Chasse
Improvisation a la guitarre
Soleares Gitana
Flutes de charmeurs de serpents
Chant d’amour des Gdolia Lohars

rythmes et melodies du monde gitan club national du disque CND 2451
The Vee Jay albums listed below were part of a series of up to a dozen LPs issued in conjunction with the 1964 World’s Fair in New York as the ‘Horizon World Series’.

They were all dubbed “Official New York World’s Fair” recording

The Popular Folk Music of India

Vee Jay, VJ 6402, mono

The Popular Folk Music of Israel

Vee Jay, VJ 6405, mono

popular folk music of israel - vj
The Popular Folk Music of Greece

Vee Jay, VJ 6409, mono

1964 - folk music of greece - vj
Musique de l’Inde: Chants et danses populaires du Bengale

Boite a Musique, BAM LD 076

BAMLD076_front BAMLD076_back BAMLD076_label_A BAMLD076_label_B
Music from the Middle East

Supraphon Artia SUA 12699

Recordings from Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Turkey

Zigeuner – Pilgerfahrt Nach Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Vogue Schallplatten LDK 18008

Musique Indienne du Rajasthan – Painted Ballads

Ocora World of Music Series, Sweden, OCR 26 Sponsored by the National Centre for Folk Concerts in Sweden (Rikskonserter) under the auspices of the Museum for the History of Music, Stockholm.

Side One contains ‘a variety of Bhil folk and religious music’, including two religious songs from Hindu festivals (one Diwali), a circular dance song, a wedding song, wedding dance, lullaby and a grievance song.

Side Two contains extracts from two ballads (Pabuji and Bagh-Rawat)

Musique du Moyen-Orient (7” mono LP)

Boite a Musique, BAM LD 385 (1966? may be earlier)

Recordings made in Syria and Jordan

musique du moyen orient BAM LD 385
In the mid-sixties (1966 in the UK) the Dutch label Philips issued a series of folk recordings entitled ‘Song and Sound the World Around’.

Apart from the albums listed below, I’ve seen reference to the series containing music recorded by Deben Bhattacharya from Bulgaria and Hungary (both of which he visited in 1964-5).

See also the tentative Philips entries for 1967.

Songs and Dances from Turkey

Philips BL 7713 (UK issue)

songs dances turkey philips front
Classical Ragas from India

Philips 831 215 PY, BL 7716

1965 - classical ragas from india philips
Chants Religieux du Bengale – Religious Songs from Bengal

Boite a Musique BAM LD 099

Songs of the Bauls and poems of Chandidas  

BAM_LD_099_frontBAMLD099_folder_01BAMLD099_folder_02BAMLD099_folder_03BAMLD099_folder_04BAMLD099_folder_05 BAM_LD_099_label_A BAM_LD_099_label_B  
Gypsy Music from Romania

Philips BL 7778, part of the ‘Song and Sound around the World’ series

Am guessing this is a Deben Bhattacharya recording. Needs substantiating.

Gypsy Music from Hungary

Philips BL 7779, part of the ‘Song and Sound around the World’ series

Am guessing this is a Deben Bhattacharya recording. Needs substantiating.

Indisk Musik fran Rajasthan: Malade ballader  

Rikskonserter World of Music series, Sweden,  Caprice Riks LPX 1

Recorded in Rajasthan 1962

Musik fran Ungern: Csangosanger

Rikskonserter World of Music series, Sweden, Caprice RIKS LPX 2

Recorded in Hungary 1964-5

CAP_LPX2_front_ed CAP_LPX2_label_A_ed CAP_LPX2_label_B_ed
Music from the Himalayas

Argo (Z)RG 530, re-released in 1971 as ZFB 40

ZFB40_front ZFB40_back ZFB40_label_A 
Music from Rumania

Argo (Z)RG 531, re-released in 1969 as (Z)DA 125 and in 1971 as ZFB 41

zfb 41 - rumania
Music from the Middle East

Argo (Z)RG 532, re-released in 1971 as ZFB 42

ZRG532_front_ed ZRG532_back_edZRG532_label_A_edZRG532_label_B_ed ZRG532_gate_1 ZRG532_gate_2
Music from the Far North

Argo (Z)RG 533, re-released in 1971 as ZFB 43

zfb 43 - music from the far north
Music from Rumania

London International (1968?)  

Tracks (need them by order and side, please)
Aseara am fost pe coasta
Briul din Muscel
Ce are nieca cu mine
Dance Cimpulung
Doina and wedding dance
Doina Trisca
Feciorasca Baia Mare
Prelude Hora Sirba
Sirba fluier
Two dances
Two dances Brasov

music from rumania london international
Songs and dances from Turkey

London International TW 91453, SW 99453 (stereo) (1968?) 

Gypsy Music from Hungary

London International SW 99451

Ragas from Benares

Argo (Z)RG 559, re-released in 1971 as ZFB 44

zfb 44 - ragas front 
Portrait of Andalusia

Argo RG 560, re-released in 1971 as ZFB 45

(coming soon in Argo blog)



Music from Turkey

Argo (Z)RG 561, re-released in 1971 as ZFB 46

(coming soon in Argo blog)

zfb 46 - music from turkeycut
Songs and dances from Bulgaria

Argo (Z)RG 562, re-released in 1971 as ZFB 47

zfb 47 - bulgariasongs and dances bulgaria back
Music and Drum Rhythms from Iran

Limelight LS 86057 

Classical Ragas of India

USA, Mercury SR 90481, Limelight (re-release of Mercury) LS 86053  

USA, Mercury SR 90481, Limelight (re-release of Mercury) LS 86053

Recording dates/locations not listed. Same with most performers

Click on a highlighted track to play

Side One
1 Sindh-Bhairavi (5:07) – sarod, tabla
2 Paraj (4:06) – on two sarangis
3 Raga Sari (2:47) – song from Kathakali dance-drama, acc. chenda, shuddha madalam, gong, cymbals 
4 Sindh-Bhairavi (4:02) – on satara

Side Two
1 Raga Madhuvanti (6:08) – sarangi and tabla
2 Religious song (4:20) – in Mand style with pair of sangas
3 Pilu (7:28) – sarod, tabla, tambura drone

 classical ragas of india - limelight
2 Ragas

Sveriges Radios Forlag RELP 1066 (1969?)

Some time in the early to mid-1970s the French label Musidisc issued a series of folk and field recordings under the header ‘Musique Folklorique du Monde’.

No info about year of issue on the covers/labels, and little info either about the performers or the date of recording.

Listed below are the LPs in the series which were recorded by Deben Bhattacharya. I haven’t been able to date most of them, but have seen the first – Les Gitans – dated as 1970.

Earliest reviews I’ve seen for many, though, were in 1975, suggesting a 1974 (ish) issue date.

Further details much appreciated.

Les Gitans

Musidisc 30 CV 1102 (1970)

Recordings made in Romania, Hungary,Yugoslavia, France, Spain, India, Bulgaria


Musidisc 30 CV 1106

 mfdm - grece - musidisque 

Musidisc 30 CV 1107


Musidisc 30 CV 1109

musidisc bengale deben
Bali Java

Musidisc 30 CV 1110

Musique folklorique du monde - bali - java - musidisque

Musidisc 30 CV 1111

CV1111_Roumanie_front_light_edCV1111_Roumanie_back_edCV1111_Roumanie_side_A_ed CV1111_Roumanie_side_B_ed

Musidisc 30 CV 1112 (1974?)

mfdm - yuoslavie - musidisc

Musidisc 30 CV 1113

Side A
1 Na janovej hore
2 Zelene malinaci
3 Joj, joj, joj, joj, sem chaso
4 Chanson d’amour du sud de la Moravie
5 Slobodenka, sloboda
6 Zbojnicka, danse de Moravie-

Side B
1 Odzemek, danse de valachie
2 Fujara et chants de bandits
3 Voklepaky, danse solo
4 Starodavny, vieille ronde
5 Prichod jara, jeu d’enfants
6 Ej vojna, chant de conscrit


Musidisc 30 CV 1115

Side A
1 Mahour
2 Chant d’amour
3 Improvisation (Oud)
4 Improvisation (Zarb)
5 Segah

Side B
1 Ballade
2 Beyat
3 Isfahan

mfdm  - iran - musidisque

Musidisc 30 CV 1116

Side A
1 Ugros et Csardas
2 Ballade de Podoripuszta
3 Violinistes gitans
4 Ballade Moldave
5 Chant d’ amour gitan , en romani

Side B
1 Furulya
2 Szeretnem, Szeruetnem
3 Kad bi suze moje na kamen padala
4 Improvisation gitane au cymbalum
5 Nem zorog a falevele
6 Tambura et choeur

CV1116_Hongrie_front_light_edCV1116_Hongrie_back_ed CV1116_Hongrie_side_A_ed CV1116_Hongrie_side_B_ed
Grand Nord

Musidisc 30 CV 1117

musidisc grand nord cv 1117 
Folk Songs and Dances from India

Qualiton 12637

Folklore from the Middle East

Qualiton 12699

Music from Iran, Jordan, Syria and “adjacent countries”

Voyages Autour du Monde – Iran

Philips 831 216 BY (1970?)

Tracks (from front cover)
Bayate Tork
Bayate Esfahan

deben philips voyages autour du monde iran 831 216 BY
Musique du Moyen-Orient

Boite a Musique, BAM LD 5716, issued as part of ‘Folklore et musiques de l’univers’ series

The Sitar of India

Argo ZFB 48

(coming up soon in a later post in Argo folk blog)

zfb 48 - sitar of india
Music from Hungary

Argo ZFB 49

zfb 49 - hungarymusic from hungary back img048img049
Music from Israel

Argo ZFB 50

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog)

zfb 50 music from israel cut
Music from Iran

Argo ZFB 51

Recorded in Meshehr and Tahran, 1955

ZFB51_iran_front ZFB51_iran_back ZFB51_iran_label_1 ZFB51_iran_label_2
Songs of Krishna

Argo ZFB 52

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog)

ZFB52_front  ZFB52_backZFB52_label_A ZFB52_label_B
Music from Yugoslavia

Argo ZFB 53

zfb 53 - music from yugoslavia
Religions of the Middle East

Argo ZFB 54

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog)

zfb 54 - religions of the middle east cut
Religions of India

Argo ZFB 55

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog)

ZFB55_frontZFB55_backZFB55_label_1 ZFB55_label_2
Music from Bangladesh

Argo ZFB 74

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog)

ZFB74_front  ZFB74_back ZFB74_label_1 ZFB74_label_2
Musique Populaire Hongroise

France, Ocora OCR 54

For track listing click on gatefold scans

OCR54_front_edOCR54_back_edOCR54_gate_01OCR54_gate_02 OCR54_gate_04 OCR54_gate_05 OCR54_gate_06 OCR54_gate_03 OCR54_label_A_edOCR54_label_B_ed
Musik fran Bulgarien

Caprice, Sweden, CAP 1085

The scans to the right are from a reissue published in 1978 with issue number CAP 1085 on the back cover, but RIKS LPX 4 on the disc labels.

The RIKS LPX World of Music series started in 1967. The CAP 1000 series started in 1971.

I’ve seen a reference to ‘Musik fran Bulgarien’ having been issued in 1969. So the scans to the right could well be a reissue of a reissue of RIKS LPX 4.


RIKSLPX4_front RIKSLPX4_backRIKSLPX4_label_A RIKSLPX4_label_BRIKSLPX4_gate_01RIKSLPX4_gate_02 RIKSLPX4_gatefolder_02_03 RIKSLPX4_gatefolder_01_04
Folkmusik fran Rumanien

Caprice, Sweden, CAP 1086

Also issued as Musik fran Rumanien, Expo-Norr, Riks LPX 5 (when?). I’m guessing they’re the same recordings.

LPX5_Ruma¦ênien_front LPX5_Ruma¦ênien_back CAP1086_gate_01CAP1086_gate_02 CAP1086_label_A CAP1086_label_B
Musique Classique d’Iran

Boite a Musique, BAM LD 5781

Not certain if this is a Deben Bhattacharya recording

Musique religieuse de la Terre Sainte

Boite a Musique, BAM LD 5782

Songs and Dances from Macedonia

Argo ZFB 56

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog)

zfb 56 - macedonia
Music from Afghanistan

Argo ZFB 57

zfb 57 - afghanistan
The Syrian Maqams

Argo ZFB 58

ZFB58_Syria_front ZFB58_Syria_backZFB58_Syria_label_A ZFB58_Syria_label_B
Songs and Dances from Czechoslovakia

Argo ZFB 59 

zfb 59 - songs and dances czechoslovakia
Music from Bangladesh

Argo ZFB 74

Two centuries of Bengali Songs

Argo ZFB 75

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog)

zfb 75 - two centuries of bengali songs cut
Musique Populaire du Rajastan – Music from the Indian desert

France, Ocora OCR 47 (1973?)

musique populaire du rajasthan ocora
Turkisk Musik

Caprice Riks LPX 6, also issued as CAP 1087

Dervish Ceremonial Music

Argo ZFB 91

Songs and Dances from Nepal

Argo ZFB 92

(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog – if i get to hear it)

zfb 92 - songs and dances nepal front
Songs of the Santal Aborigines

Argo ZFB 93
(coming up in a later post in Argo folk blog – if i get to hear it)

Musik Fran Bengalen

Caprice Riks LPX 7

musik fran bengalen front RIKSLPX7_01_backRIKSLPX7_01_gate RIKSLPX7_folder_01_16RIKSLPX7_02_gate RIKSLPX7_02_gate_center RIKSLPX7_folder_02_03RIKSLPX7_folder_04_05 RIKSLPX7_folder_06_07 RIKSLPX7_folder_08_09 RIKSLPX7_folder_10_11 RIKSLPX7_folder_12_13 RIKSLPX7_folder_14_15 RIKSLPX7_label_1 RIKSLPX7_label_2
L’Inde Mystique Vol  (?) – Ragas du Matin et du Soir

Boite a Musique BAM LD 5014 (1975 or 76?)

The BAM LD 5000 to 5111 series were used for stereo re-issues of earlier albums from the label

L’Inde Mystique Vol 1 – Ragas de Benares

Boite a Musique BAM LD 5015 (1975 or 76?)

The BAM LD 5000 to 5111 series were apparently used for stereo re-issues of earlier material from the label

L’Inde Mystique Vol 2 – Chants, musiques et prieres

Boite a Musique BAM LD 5076

The BAM LD 5000 to 5111 series were apparently used for stereo re-issues of earlier material from the label

l'inde mystique vol 2 BAM 5076
Religious music from the Holy Land

Expo-Norr RIKSLPX 3

Evening Ragas from Benares

ASV ALM 4002

ALM4002_front ALM4002_back ALM4002_label_1 ALM4002_label_2
Inside Afghanistan

ASV (???)

inside afghanistan asv 1981
Folk Music from India (audio cassette)

Sussex Video, UK, Music & Society HB8

Reflections of Romania – Village and Urban Folk Traditions

Nonesuch Explorer, H 72092, re-issue of CAP 1086 (see above), licensed from Caprice Records. Recordings made in 1965.


~ by folkcatalogue on March 10, 2011.

12 Responses to “Deben Bhattacharya – vinyl discography”

  1. I’m selling some Record Society recordings on Ebay – I hope they take off since they seem to be hard to come by. One of them is an Israel recording by Deben Bhattachrya.

  2. You’ve put down some serious work! Impressive.
    Anyway, I’m sitting on a copy of 2 Ragas (Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, RELP 1066). Just let me know if you need pictures or anything like that.

  3. Just by chance I came across this page. As Debens son, it was a rare pleasure to see that his production was even more comprehensive than I knew of. Thanks for a fantastic job!

  4. Music from Rumania

    London International (1968?)

    I see you want the tracks listed in the order they appear on each side. I can send you a scan of the reverse of the LP cover, if you want.

    Mike Aylward

    • Hi Mike, sorry for taking so long to reply. the blog’s been on the back burner, but I hope to return to it one day. So a scan of the reverse of the LP cover would be cool. Thanks

  5. I have a copy of the BAM LP Folklore Et Musiques De L’Univers – Musique Classique D’Iran LD 5781. I can confirm it was recorded by Deben Battacharya. I can send you photos and information if you would like. Can you give me contact details so I can send further information.

  6. Topic had issued some Bulgarian music earlier in the 1950s: a couple of folk songs on a 78 by the Bulgarian (State) Song and Dance Ensemble and two tracks of recordings made at the Communist-sponsored World Youth Festival in Warsaw in 1955.

  7. I have a copy of Philips BL 7778 (631 221 PL) – “Gipsy Music From Rumania” in the Song and Sound The World Around series. It does indeed carry the credit “Recorded in Rumania and edited by Deben Battacharya”.

  8. Welcome and thanks for sharing…
    Excellent site here and a great Hommage to Deben Bhattacharya
    Looking forward
    Ram Chandrakausika

  9. Thanks for your site.
    Running order from the “Music from Rumania” LP:
    Side 1:
    1. Orchestral prelude followed by Hora and Sirba dances
    2. Sirba dance on fluir
    3. Who is in love with me?
    4. Batrineasca – dance
    5. Briul din Muscel – dance
    6. Doina for four notched-flutes (Trisca)
    7. Dance for two from Cimpulung
    Side 2:
    1. Last night I was on the hill – love song
    2. Sirba, ring dance music on pan-pipe
    3. “Ciobanasul” – shepherd’s dance
    4. Two dances from Brasov
    5. Two dances
    6. Ardelean – dance
    7. Doina followed by a wedding dance
    8. Fecioreasca – dance from Baia Mare

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