Stevan Godin is the owner of Godin Music in Connaught Place, New Delhi. He is one of the oldest, if not quite possibly the oldest, piano dealer in the city. Aside from being a dealer, Stevan also repairs and restores antique pianos. The high ceiling and arches in his store never fails to attract passerby and onlookers, which some even regard as a museum. However, there are not many who actually knows the history of the place.
It was originally established in Quetta in 1920 by Celiano Godin. Back then, it was used to be known as A Godin & Company. Celiano only moved to Delhi in the 1940s and set up a piano shop in Kashmere Gate. It was only two years later that he shifted to Connaught Place. “CP had by the early 1940s become the most happening place in the city, so my grandfather decided to shift the shop here,” stated the 52-year-old Godin, who took over the business from Austin Godin, his father, in 1977.
The Godins have been around for the past seven decades. During this time, they have dealt with Englishmen, top businessmen and royals as their clients. “We were also the piano tuners for Viceroy Lord Mountbatten,” mentioned Godin, whose family is originally from Mapusa, Goa. Before Independence, the Englishmen would normally rent the pianos. “We had a warehouse behind Regal Cinema where we would keep about 150 pianos to rent out. A new piano would cost about R5,000, which was a lot of money those days. So, English civil servants who served in India for not more than a couple of years preferred taking a piano on rent,” explained Godin.
Apart from selling pianos, the shop also deals with violins, guitars, saxophones and even Indian musical instruments. This is because in the 1960s, the popularity of pianos started to decline. This called for them to respond and implement changes. The worst period was between the 1980s to 1990s, where they could hardly sell a piano every month. However, business has been picking up again. According to him, the shop sells between four to five pianos a month now. The buyers ranges from corporate honchos to businessmen to top professionals. “For many of them, the piano is an item of interior decoration. Some of the buyers, however, can play it really well while some others are just learning. A lot of people in Delhi are also encouraging their children to learn how to play pianos,” he said. For the full story, you can read it here.