Family Schooled Sound Engineers of Kutch: Turning Scrap Metal into Musical Instruments - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Family Schooled Sound Engineers of Kutch: Turning Scrap Metal into Musical Instruments

Scrap metal turned into amazing bells at Nirona, Kutch

Recycling is the need of the hour and is possibly the best gift that we can give back to our planet. Recycling gets even more interesting when something amazing comes out of waste. If melody comes out of it, then I would term it extraordinary. And if it is one of Incredible India’s unique skillsets that turns waste into melody, then it gets catapulted to unbelievable category.

Portrait of Nirona's Acoustical Engineer

Such an unbelievable art form is what a small family in Gujarat’s Nirona village has developed, harnessed and honed for the past eight generations. Another one of our country’s amazing hidden handicraft gems, this has been going on for the past 400 years and is deeply entrenched in the gene pool of the Husen (Hussain) family. They are ironsmiths and sound engineers. They make musical instruments such as Saregama, Morechang, Love Zummers, Zummers, wind chimes and others along with copper bells all by hand and without any schooling on acoustics or sound.

Hussain Family and their musical bell creations

This Husen (Hussain) family from Nirona are who I call the family schooled sound engineers of Kutch or if I were to be more filmy, I would say that they have music in their blood. They buy scrap iron metal from waste yards, beat them into shapes that they have imagined and then painstakingly beat the newly shaped metal at different places and with different intensities till it emits or resonates the sounds that they are looking for. This art of creating sound from metal is something that has been passed down in their family for generations and then the new generation sometimes do their own improvisations. In essence, their humble workshop on the main bazaar of Nirona village looks and sounds something like a sound or acoustics lab. To see this in a tiny village of Kutch is truly mind blowing and is one of the best perks of off beat travel in rural India.

The hand made bells of Nirona, Kutch, Gujarat, India

Here is a 10 step process of how the Husen family turns scrap metal into musical instruments and copper bells:

1) Buy scrap metal from the waste industry

2) Decide on design of product (as in which musical instrument, bell, shape, etc.)

3) Using a hammer, forceps, vice and other tools, bend the scrap metal into the desired shape

4) Make a mixture of metals and alloys (Copper, Zinc, Brass, etc)

5) Plaster this metal powder mix on to the scrap metal

6) Get the fire in the kiln going

7) Once they plastering on the scrap product has dried out, place it in the mud kiln so that the metal powder mix melts and sticks to the scrap iron

8) Let it air cool and then wash it with water. What now remains is a shiny metallic work product

9) Now, using different hammers, they beat this shiny metal product at different places and with different intensities till it emits and/or resonates the desired sound

10) The finishing touches are given and the product is ready to be used and/or sold

While most of the above work is done by the men, the women help with making the metal mixture, plastering and putting it in the mud kiln.

The sound engineer of Kutch, Gujarat, India

When you see the extremely humble and ever smiling family members of the Hussain family, their simple workshop that displays all the tools, bells and musical instruments and them going about their business with sheer genetic skill and with their hands, it is pretty difficult to fathom that these people are actually acoustical engineers, but without any formal degrees. They have no air about them and that quality is loved by all.

The head of the Hussain family - the family who has acoustics in their genes

This is one family that you should visit if you happen to go on a rural holiday to Kutch or if you are covering a trail on the different handicrafts of Kutch. And more so if you happen to love good acoustics and music. This amazing family, their workshop and their handicraft making skills are a total treat to the eyes, ears and senses. I would definitely recommend this place to all kinds of travelers. And if you happen to reach there, do make sure you bring back home some of their hand made acoustics.

The Hussain Family that creates musical melodies from scrap metal

Contact Details

To reach the Hussain family or to find their Copper Bell Art sound workshop, you can either call them at +91 94277 66528 (Luhar Salim Husen), +91 94264 67925 (Luhar Umar Husen), +91 95580 69627 (Luhar Faruk) or email Luhar Faruk at

How to Reach Nirona Village

The budding generation of acoustic engineers from the Hussain family of Nirona, Kutch, India

The nearest airport and railway station is Bhuj. From Bhuj, you can hire a taxi to cover the 60 kms distance to Nirona village. The drive usually takes 60 to 75 minutes.

Where to stay in Nirona Village

Stay with the locals in their homes to get the most out of the rural experience.

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