Saturday, 15 April 2017

Enoch Daniels, The Living Legend

I must have been an Infant of barely five or six when I listened to a distant relative play a strange instrument at a family get together. So amazed was I that I went straight to the artist, asking him what was the name of the instrument and if I could lay my hand upon it. My father came at the rescue of both, the artist and the instrument. He took me away, telling me that this one, called an Accordion, was too heavy for me and he would certainly buy me the one meant for the ‘artist’ of my age and of my build!

Little did my father know that he had made a commitment that would cost him dearly. I did not allow him peaceful sleep for a few nights (his days were spent at the office, to his good luck!). To be able to find  
back his comfort, he brought home a card board made toy Accordion for me. His problem was not resolved; it was only transferred to my grandfather who had to bear with my untiring renditions of the ‘Accordion’ most part of the day. Tired of this, he would tell my mother or grandmother, “Arre, somebody take this Enoch Daniels away from me!” It was then that I understood that Enoch Daniels was almost a synonym to Accordion. As I grew older, my fascination for Accordion and instrumental music grew more and more. The time of my adolescence was the golden period of Hindi film music. Any song that would have pieces of Accordion would immediately make a deep dent in my mind. Every time I got to listen to a good piece of Accordion, I would invariably associate that to Enoch Daniels. Thus, I developed the same fascination for the artist which I had for this wonderful instrument called Accordion. It was later that the idea that other Accordion players were there too, dawned upon me. I would make all possible efforts to be able to listen to the radio programmes with instrumental rendition of film music, hoping that there would be at least one song by Enoch Daniels and most times, I wasn’t disappointed.

As I grew older, I yearned to see the maestro in flesh and blood and listen to him perform live. The dream came true somewhere in 1979 when a stage programme of C. Ramchandra took place in the city of Amdavad. I attended the programme and went to see Ramchandraji during the intermission. He obliged me by not only talking to me but also by introducing me to my childhood hero, THE Enoch Daniels! Enoch Sir was very cordial to me and listened to my effervescent enthusiasm with patience and a smiling face! Following that, I was able to meet Enoch Sir a couple of times over the space of 35 years. From a young stalwart of 1979, he was transformed into an aged veteran when I met him in 2013 at a musical night. Age had not taken away from him, the energy and enthusiasm as I found him still standing tall and straight at the age of 80! 

Young Man of 80 plus !

In that programme, he took to Accordion first and to Piano afterwards, demonstrating clearly that he was no different from his 1979 version. It was then that I came to know that he had shifted his base from Mumbai to Pune where he was leading a peaceful (but certainly not retired) life.

It was last week of August 2016 when upon my visit to the city of Pune, I wanted to do much more than spending quality time with my Grand Children. I wanted to meet Shri Enoch Daniels and request him to allow me to do a feature on him for my Blog. I had no clue however to connect to him. I had a good back up in Shri Madankumar Sharma, the famed mouth organ maestro of our country. I knew he was friendly to Enoch Sir. I was lucky that Madanji readily obliged me by calling and talking to Enoch Sir about my plans, which got an ‘always welcome’ nod. As bonus, Madanji also granted me the permission to do a feature on himself which I did and have posted here in the month of September 2016. Unfortunately, on the day previous to my appointment with him, Enoch Sir was needed to be hospitalized as he was down with dengue fever. Disappointed though I was, I told myself, there was always an ‘another time’. On the day I had to leave for Amdavad, I thought of enquiring about his well being. I dialled his Landline phone, thinking that a family member or a domestic help would pick up the line. To my utter surprise and sheer pleasure, the maestro himself answered the phone! He said, “Yes, Madan(ji) had told me that you were in Pune for a week and had also fixed date with me for you but I took ill, you know! I was in the hospital and have been discharged only yesterday”. He added, “When you are in Pune again, I will definitely make sure we can meet and chat at my residence”.

And sure he made! I was thinking of a visit to Pune during the last week of the month of this March. Before finalizing my plan, I tried to contact Enoch Sir in the first week of March. Despite several attempts to contact him through his cell phone and his landline number, there was no response. I thought he would have probably gone on a trip. I almost decided to postpone my plan when on 12th of March; I got a phone call from Enoch Sir, asking me if I was planning a trip to Pune and if yes, he would be happy to see me! He said, some social obligations kept him away and that was why he could not be contacted when I was trying to call him. “Once you are in Pune, just give me a call and we will finalize everything” said the maestro.

So, ultimately it happened. I reached Pune on 25th of March and as per his instruction, called him. He asked me to reach his house at 12.00 noon on 26th, giving me details of his residential address and how to reach there. As I reached a sprawling bungalow in a posh society, I found a very cordial and smiling Enoch Sir greeting me with a “Hello, welcome, please make yourself comfortable”.
A warm, Smiling Welcome

Please find the following, the extract of a maestro talking to a novice blogger about his life and his accomplishments in most unassuming manner.

****        ****        ****        ****

How did The Journey Begin:
Enoch Daniels as the world knows him, was born in the month of April, 1933 in the city of Pune to a God loving and law abiding couple. He was among six sons of the family. The church culture drew each son of the family to the choir music. Young Enoch was drawn to the organ which he started playing at a very tender age. He soon picked up the early lessons of the western music from the missionaries associated to the church. One Fr. Slade  recognised the talent of the young lad and gave him the first lessons of western music. This prompted him to learning to play Piano too. Though he was fast attaining proficiency over both, Organ and Piano, he found that the limitation with these instruments was their difficult portability. So he decided to also learn to play an instrument that was easily portable. By the time he entered the college, he had earned fame in the city of Pune as a promising artist. It so happened that young Enoch Daniels was to participate in the youth festival event. One of his classmates offered a baby Accordion to him. He started practicing vigorously over the Accordion. It was not very long that he performed up to national level with that Accordion to win prizes and accolades. He was about 20 then.

This was the time he had to choose the career path as well. He had a strong inclination for joining Armed Force. But then the speed with which he was gaining fame and popularity with his musical prowess drew him towards the field of entertainment. He finally decided for the latter. This landmark decision was accompanied with three major events.

1) He started learning Accordion much more sincerely. Whatever he had picked up while learning piano from Fr. Slade was now also practiced over the Accordion.

2) He acquired a full size Accordion from a European missionary who was returning to his motherland.

3) Once in possession of the full size Accordion, he thought of going professional. For that, he decided to move to Mumbai. After studying for three years in Wadia College of Pune, he got himself admitted in Bhavan’s College of Mumbai, where he completed his Graduation. Bhavan’s College also offered him ample opportunities to participate in various cultural events.

How did He enter the world of Film Industry Music:
As luck would have it, the friend who had offered his Accordion for the youth festival was instrumental in this. His uncle was a film distributor in Mumbai. That gentleman identified the amazing talent of young Enoch and introduced him to Sachin Dev Burman. He was called for an audition and so impressed was S.D. Burman that he called young Enoch for a recording scheduled for the next month. “Though S.D. Burman was much much my senior, over the passage of time we became very friendly”, said Enoch Sir. He was barely 22 at that time. There was no looking back. He made his own road to success with extraordinary talent and with his willingness to learn new things. While working in the music world, he came in contact with famous Hawaiian Guitar player Van Shipley. This resulted into a lifelong bond of both, professionalism and friendship.
Van Shipley, Talat Muhammad, Enoch Daniels

With C.Ramchandra
His ability to play Accordion and Piano equally well and also to read and write staff notations made him popular with music directors, arrangers and fellow musicians very soon. He started playing for Music Directors like (apart from S.D.Burman) C.Ramchandra, Naushad, O.P. Naiyer, Madan Mohan, Khayyam,Vasant Desai and last but certainly not the least, Shankar Jaykishan.
Enoch Daniels(Left) with C.Ramchandra and others

Enoch Daniels(Extreme Right) with Madan Mohan(Center),shaking hands with Talat Muhammad

He joined Van Shipley over the tour to East Africa at the age of 23. During this very successful tour, he not only played Accordion but was also entrusted the duty of arranging the music for every show the troupe produced. The way he successfully carried out his newly acquired assignment boosted his demand in Mumbai music industry. This was followed by yet another successful tour to Mauritius with Talat Muhammad and Van Shipley.
Standing Tall!

 To be an integral part of foreign tours became almost a habit as he traveled with the likes of Muhammad Rafi and Manna Dey. 

With Muhammad Rafi

This brought him the reputation of being a very capable and responsible artist. He also started arranging for the stage programmes of Talat muhammad, Kishorkumar, Dattaram and many more. Said Enoch Sir, “The pinnacle was the opportunity to accompany Lata Mangeshkar during her famous Royal Albert Hall (London) programme.” As if this was not enough, he was contacted by Columbia, the famous recording company for cutting records of popular hindi film songs played over Accordion. Even during these recordings, he made arranging himself. These records were sold like hot Pakodas! He became a regular arranger/performer of a number of overseas shows and kept on cutting records with Columbia and with HMV.

Recording Session For HMV Company

By the time he was barely 27, he had attained so much fame and popularity that his name became synonymous with Accordion. I take liberty here to remind the readers of what I have said at the beginning of this feature in the second paragraph. My grandfather used to call me ‘Enoch Daniels’, realizing my craze for Accordion in about 1958-59! He was definitely not among the ardent lovers of film music but still he knew that there was something called Accordion and there was someone called Enoch Daniels! And that too in the era when Radio was the only media and it played the film music only for a limited slot of time. This speaks volumes about the fame Enoch Sir had attained at a reasonably young age.

A promising young man

He also started arranging music for Marathi films with reputed composers like Dattaram Waadkar, Sudhir Fadke, Ram Kadam and few others. He composed music for advertising jingles as well. He was involved in arranging music for famous Nursery Rhymes recordings rendered by Priti Sagar. Following that, he arranged music for the recordings of O.P. Naiyer, Salil Chaudhari, N.Datta and Khayyam. He arranged background score for films like ‘Kabhi Kabhi’, ‘Trishul’ and ‘Chhoti Si Baat’. He also composed entire background music for Shekhar Kapoor’s film ‘Masoom’. For this film, the songs were composed by Salil Chaudhari.  As if all this was not enough, he composed music for a Konkani Film ‘Suzanne’.  

“A good arranger is the one who would produce best possible results with minimum possible number of instruments and people believed I could do that” said he.

****    ****    ****    ****

As I thanked him for giving me a detailed account of his illustrious career in most humble manner, I asked him if I could ask a few personal questions. “Well, just go ahead. My life has always been an open book”, came the warm response. So, following is a sort of rapid fire round!

Me: Did you ever think of making a career of a full time composer or that of a full time arranger?

Enoch Sir: “No. I believed that for everyone there is a niche and for every niche, there is an individual to fill in the space. I never wanted to go and push myself where people were already doing very good work. Besides, I was extremely busy with my job of playing Accordion and Piano for recordings and was travelling a lot. 

While I was happy and satisfied with what I was doing, why should have I tried to snatch away something my friends were doing happily?”

Me: Who was/were your favourite composer/s?

Enoch Sir: “I would not like to pick up names. I clicked well with all of whom I worked with. Whereas I have tremendous respect for S.D.Burman Saab and Naushad Saab, I was always happy working with everyone in the field. Those were the days when there was a great deal of comradery among all of us. There used to be rehearsals and rehearsals before a song actually went for recording. This made a strong bond amongst all involved in the process.”

Me: Which are your memorable songs, in which your rendition was the highlighted?

Enoch Sir: “It is very difficult to remember now. There used to be times when I was so busy recording, sometimes I wouldn’t even know the name of the film the song was being recorded for. But I can pick up a couple of them. My Accordian rendition for ‘Bees Saal Baad’ song ‘Bekarar karke Hame Yun  N Jaaie’ became quite popular.”

{Note:  Please allow the timer to run. Note the Accordion pieces between 12 seconds – 14seconds (to be depicted as 0’.12” -  0’.14”), 0’.21” - 0’.30”, 1’.52” - 1’.53”, 2’.01 – 2’.10” junctions.}

“Apart from that, All songs of film ‘Love in Tokyo’ had noteworthy pieces of Accordion which I had privilege to play. And yes, ‘Jalte Hai Jis ke Liye’ an immortal number from film ‘Sujata’ had very subtle Accordion pieces, which were played by me.”

{Note: Please allow the timer to run. Note the way Accordion pieces are played. This is the subtlety. Pay attention at 0’.1” – 0’.3”, 0’.6”- 0’.7”, 0’.29”- 0’.30”, especially find the wonderful use of the bellow between 1’.36”- 1’.38” and 2’.30- 2’.32” junctions.}

Me: There is a large population of your admirers who associate you with the great duo Shankar Jaykishan. How far do you endorse this?

Enoch Sir: “As a matter of fact, I joined this duo only during making of the music for film ‘Love in Tokyo’. Earlier, there was Sumit (Mitra) who played a lot for them. Like I said earlier, I never wanted to make intrusion into an already existing system. Every composer had a team of his own and it was because of working together that they came out with desired results. In my times, apart from Sumit (Mitra), there was Gudi (Servai) and there was Kersi (Lord). 
Burji Lord(L), Enoch Daniels(C) and Kersi Lord(R).

All these were very good players and we were quite friendly to each other. So, contrary to the popular belief that I played a lot for S J, I did play for them but there were others too.”

Me: Would you mind elaborating upon the film music of now? How far has it drifted from that of your times?

Enoch Sir: “Look, music is the most divine gift of God to us mortals. As I have perceived, the music for the human race originated with the rhythm of heartbeats. So, ‘Taal’ came first and then came the ‘Naad’. Whatever has been happening in the world of music is just a follow up of natural phenomena. I do not claim that music of now is inferior to that of our time. The difference is actually a reflection of the market demand. In our times, the music was created. There used to be number of sessions where the composer(s), arranger, singer(s), a few knowledgeable instrumentalists, lyricist and director/producer of the film would participate and a good amount of brainstorming would result into the final composition. The notation for the song would be written with meticulous detailing. Next, a series of rehearsals used to take place and then the final recording. Today, the music is synthesized. It is kind of screw driver technology! As a result, like all other products in the market, even the music has become a ‘use and throw’ product. Still, there are good people in the field and some very nice songs often hit the market. In my humble opinion, the music of our time was ‘मा के हाथ की रोटी’ while what we get mostly today is Pitza ordered from the  maeket! फर्क तो रहेगा ही, ना?”

Me: Did you ever want to do anything else than music? If yes, what?

Enoch Sir: “Like I told you in the beginning, I had a strong urge to join the armed force. But then I chose music. I used to be good at painting during my school days. I also loved to travel. Though there was little I could do with painting, I could travel a lot. My profession was more of my passion. And that took me to various parts of the world. I have enjoyed what I have been able to do, no regrets for what I could not do.”

Me: A little about your family, Sir?

Enoch Sir:Why, Sure. You have already met Grace, my wife (Yes Sir, I had already met a beautiful lady of 75+, who welcomed me with a warm smile and treated me with delicious home made Kokam Sharbat).  
The Lady Behind The Legend's Success - Smt. Grace Daniels

Our Son Ramaya Daniels is a very good musician himself but has chosen the profession of hospitality. He has his base in Banglore. Our daughter Ramona Borthwick is in U.S. and is teaching western music there.”

Me: Sir, Your message for your admirers and for those who want to make a career in the field of music please?

Enoch Sir: “Well, my best wishes for all. That is my message!”

****    ****    ****    ****

As I was about to leave, he asked me about how our Harmonica Club of Gujarat activities were going on. Both, Smt.Grace and Shri Enoch Daniels are extremely warm and affectionate people. They readily obliged by posing for a few photographs. “Do visit us again, you are hardly 20 minutes walk away fron here” was his way of saying bye bye. As I reached home, I realized that the photos I had captured were not of very good quality. The next day, I called Enoch Sir and asked if I may visit him to click the photos again! He agreed readily. He also granted me the permission to use his photos available on the internet sites. I went and clicked a few photos, including the first selfie of my life and that too with the man whom I admire from the bottom of my heart.Thanks a lot, Enoch Sir, you will never know the pleasure you have provided me with. Thanks, again.

My Selfie with the Maestro !

****    ****    ****    ****

I mentioned in the early part of this feature that the maestro was born in the month of April 1933. I deliberately avoided mentioning the date. By sheer co incidence, it is 16th of April 1933. As I am posting this, he is completing 84 years of life.  Ladies and Gentlemen, let us all wish The Great Enoch Daniels all the very best on this auspicious day. May all good things continue happening to you, Enoch Sir, and to your near and dear ones for ever. Amen.

The photos are procured from net, with kind permission of Shri Enoch Daniels.
The Videos of both the songs are procured from You tube. These are not to be used for professional interests.


  1. What a way to greet the maestro! Thanks, Piyushbhai, for providing many unknown details about the legendary player. We heartily wish him on his birthday.

  2. Sir, as I went through the feature, I don't know why, but, in the back of my mind, there started accumulation of the feelings of high respect towards you. Frankly, I am not fond of reading. But, there are few people, whom I would read at leisure. You are one of them. I may not agree to your statement that "You were a NOVICE BLOGGER". This can't be a work of novice blogger.

    The write up also made me informed that you have tremendous affection towards ACCORDION. The music of accordion had also fascinated me in my tender age, but I was not lucky enough to listen it live.

    From the feature, what I liked very much is the answer of Enoch Sir saying that Music is divine gift from the God...the evolution of TAAL and NAAD and the demand of the days for music (then and now) are very lucidly stated by the Enoch Sir and presented by You Sir....and lastly his version that music of his time were like माँ के हाथकी रोटी and that of now is like Pitza ordered from the market...फर्क तो रहेगा ही ना ? has proved that there is mark difference in the music of yester years and the music of today, which is short lived.

  3. Thanks Piyush ! I was awe struck with your ability to search facts, gather them and present them in your own peculiar magnificent way.

  4. Excellent. I've known Mr. Enoch Daniel and his wife for the past 20 odd years - we worship in the same church, St. Paul's church, Pune. Today you have opened my eyes to the greatness of this man. He is so humble. Thank

  5. It's a pleasure to know him and be blessed with fellowship of such stalwarts at St. Paul's CNI Church at Pune. I wish The Living Legend Mr. Enoch Daniels and Mrs. Grace Daniels a happy, joyous and long life together!! God bless...

  6. sir, Thank you so much for the valuable information. I have been to his house 2-3 times. Eager to meet you. Please text me your number Piyush ji. 9158867111