Music Braganza & Co: what binds AR Rahman, Satyajit Ray and countless musicians
Stepping into Braganza is almost like stepping into a Narnian world – there is magic everywhere. Here, the magic resides in the tinkling of ivories, in the soul of the double bass and in the fast tunes of the violin, guitar and ukulele always so quirky. When you leave the bustle of the city behind the glass doors, you are greeted with an almost utopian serenity, punctuated only by melody.
What started as a small business, born out of a simple garage on Marquis Street, is now a thriving business with a versatile showroom, vintage workshop, and a vibrant online presence.
From Traditionalists to Millennials: Every Braganza Generation Takes a Higher Rating
Collage by: Tiyasa Das
This Goan music store was established in 1945 by brothers Francis and Thomas Braganza. Old World War II-era pianos and violins have been refurbished and rented to music enthusiasts across town. Thomas, specializing in the production of rare percussion instruments at the time, was in charge of the technical operations of the company. Francis and his charming charisma handled everything marketing, ensuring that the name Braganza was synonymous with music in Kolkata.
The second generation of Braganza, Tony and Dicky Braganza, introduced True Tone, Braganza’s own brand of music. It specializes in the production of stringed instruments such as electric and bass guitars, violins, mandarins and ukuleles. She made custom instruments to meet all the tiny needs of budding musicians in Kolkata. True Tone revolutionized the business by immediately increasing sales.
Armed with a professional degree and three years of experience in sound production, Nigel (Francis’ grandson) joined the company in 2010 and launched the new store – “Braganza’s” – located right next to Park Street, in the heart of the city. The elegant showroom allows Braganza to show off the look, feel and sound of their instruments whenever a customer enters their magical world. âOur customers want to be able to browse the available instruments, test the sound and make an informed choice. So that’s what we offer them, we offer them an experience while making a purchase! Nigel said.
“Everything Musical” – from the first octave to the third
Braganza’s original duo Francis and Thomas adopted the slogan âEverything Musicalâ and it has been followed religiously ever since. The music store takes care of everything and everything related to music. From selling, repairing and renting musical instruments to stocking rare music books and musical accessories, the store has it all. âThe founders chose the phrase ‘Everything Musical’ because it encapsulated the fact that Braganza’s can help you in all areas of music!â Says Dicky, Francis’s son and Nigel’s father.
âWith the development of technology, a number of new-age music accessories are available in the market today. We try to be the first to store it so that it is readily available to our customers, âsaid Nigel. In addition to its private label, the music store offers a whole range of instruments from brands around the world. Fender, Hertz, PRS Guitars and Granada are some of the brands available.
A unique option offered by Braganza is the rental of pianos, drums and violins on a contractual basis, by the day or by the month. âWe encourage young learners to rent our violins while learning the instrument, instead of buying new violins as they grow older. Once they have learned to play and need a full size violin, they can return the violin to rent and invest in a new violin, âexplained Nigel. Violins, of all sizes, from baby violins to full-size violins, can be rented from the store on a monthly basis.
The store has three grand pianos, a B. Steiner, an MF Rachal and a Boston, reserved for musicians to rent by the day. âMany famous musicians rented our pianos during their tour in Kolkata. AR Rahman rented our B. Steiner grand piano for the last show he did in town. Satyajit Ray rented a piano from us all those years ago and his family continues to rent it to this day, âsaid Nigel, beaming with pride.
Braganza’s: an ode to music
Braganza’s is a company created for musicians, by musicians. Francis was a fantastic drummer while Thomas was a saxophone and clarinet wizard. The innate musical talent has been inherited by each generation, Tony plays the drums, Dicky the violin and Nigel the guitar.
The inspiration behind the business was the family’s love for music, their intention was to spread the warmth, comfort and joy that music stirred in them to every nook and cranny of the city. âAt the time, the store was the common meeting place for musicians from Calcutta. People would often drop by to strum a few chords, sing a song, and chat. The atmosphere was truly amazing and we plan to carry on this tradition for years to come, âsaid Nigel.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Braganza went online with a jazzy website and social media handles to attract customers and increase sales. The music store is looking forward to expanding its digital presence in the coming months and marketing its private label, True tone, at national scale. So, musicians from across the country, get ready.
Take a look at their online store: www.braganzamusicals.com
âMy grandfather and great uncle dreamed of creating a music store that would foster the spirit of music in Kolkata and I’m proud to say he has accomplished just that over the past seven decades,â said Nigel smiling.