In 1970, a small shop appeared in Balsall Heath between the Luxor and Triangle Cinemas. ‘Oriental Star Agencies’ initially sold radios and electronics but more people began coming to the store enquiring where they could find the songs from the films they were watching in the cinemas.

The shop began to sell records imported from India and Pakistan, which were only available in Oxford Street in London at the time. They were 78rpm, extended play records with 4 songs on each side of the record. Taking 8 to 10 weeks to be delivered from the subcontinent.

True Form Projects will be exploring the archive and developing work with a variety of organisations, new partners and artists. This is just a preview of an exciting new project where we shall be looking at bringing the whole collection online. We shall be transcribing, translating and interpreting this treasure trove of records in different, new and exciting ways. People will be able to see and comment on each of the records, their design, their music and especially their memories. The Vinyl Project is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to undertake our archiving and development work.

We are honoured to hold this precious collection of records that contain memories, stories, letters, language, culture and much more. It is our hope that through the archive we can bring people together again as when the records were first played for people on the radio. If you are interested in accessing the collection or would like to hear more, please join our mailing list or email us at: [email protected] .

TFVP About:

Our record collection is one of the largest in the world that is specific to the South Asian subcontinents musical traditions and memories. It includes many UK releases , the majority from India and Pakistan. The records were part of a collection at Oriental Star Agencies in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. When the shop had to close, artist Faisal Hussain knew that the collection was important and needed to be saved and not disposed of.

As well as the vinyl records a number of other artefacts, archive and works were collected, including cover art, cassettes and artefacts. Some became part of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s permanent archive and some were exhibited there as part of the ‘History of Asian Youth Culture’ exhibition in 2019.
We are currently going through the process of archiving all.

This website will be being added to over the coming months in the hope that the whole collection can be made accessible online for anyone to be able to see the depth of the different musical styles, heritage and cover art of South Asia, the UK and it’s diaspora around the world.

We are currently looking for organisations and partners for a project that will enable us to exhibit, study and interpret the collection in new and different ways. If you are an organisation or creative that would like to take part please do contact us on [email protected].