Endangered archives blog

News about the projects saving vulnerable material from around the world

13 posts categorized "Song"

25 January 2011

EAP132: Digital Archive of North Indian Classical Music

This week we have started to catalogue the material created as part of EAP132: Digital Archive of North Indian Classical Music. Run by the School of Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, the project digitised approximately 1,150 hours of north Indian (or Hindustani) classical music held by private collectors and institutions.

Collectors in West Bengal provided most of the material, and one collector was committed enough to transport his material from Venezuela to be digitised. A follow up project - EAP274 (stage two)- is currently underway, which focuses on special collections of relatively rare styles (such as dhrupad singing) and Bengali popular music from 1902 to 1936.

Sound recordings are threatened by the physical decay of their carriers and technological obsolescence, and material was digitised from gramophone discs, vinyl, cassette tapes and CDs in various states of repair. The EAP is working with the British Library Sound Archive to ensure that our digital copies can be accessed in the future.

274_SSM0990_1 copy 

The user community of the SCTR digital archive have set up a website featuring audio clips, video footage and biographies of the performers featured in the collections. The site also provides a forum for users to exchange information about the collections and related resources.



27 October 2010

UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Just a quick post to draw your attention to the fact that today is the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, established to raise awareness of the value of audiovisual material , and the challenges we face in ensuring its preservation for current and future generations. The UNESCO web pages have more information about the day, including details of a programme of short films to be screened in Paris this evening in celebration.

EAP projects have digitised a range of audiovisual materials, documenting such varied performances and events as Chinese Dongjing performances, initiation rites for the Dagara Bagr cult of Northern Ghana and Southern Burkina Faso, records created by the East Timor Commission on Return, Truth and Reconciliation from 2002-2004, and recordings of North Indian Classical Music.


01 October 2010

Rescuing Dongjing Archives in Yunnan, China

Over the past week I have started to catalogue project EAP012 Salvage and preservation of Dongjing archives in Yunnan, China: transcript, score, ritual and performance.

Dongjing refers to a body of Daoist and Confucian texts and traditional music scores. The songs can be performed unaccompanied or with instruments. As a practice it is thought to date back to the 15th century. Social, political and cultural factors have endangered the practice which is now mostly performed by communities in Yunnan province.

The collections copied by the EAP012 project contain a wealth of material including ritual texts, music scores and audio-visual recordings of Dongjing performances as well as oral history interviews. The following images are taken from Sanguan donging juan zhong, a sutra used during Dongjing activities, inscribed in 1911.


29 September 2010

EAP127 Catalogue announcement

We are pleased to announce that the catalogue for the Popular Market Bengali Books is now available to view via the British Library's Search Our Catalouge: Archives and Manuscripts pages.

2971 examples of Bengali street literature have been digitised by staff at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Digital copies and (some of) the original material can be consulted at the School of Cultural Texts and Records or the reading rooms here at The British Library. The books cover subjects including folk literature, music and songs, theatre booklets, homeopathy, astrology, adventure novels, horror stories, grammar guides, religious practices and belief, and many many other topics. Anyone reading this blog will be familiar with some of the material, and seen some of the images produced by the Project.

The material is organised into 11 separate Collections, based on the name of the Collector of the original material. This includes the School of Cultural Texts itself whose Collection contains seven sub-collections, reflecting the development of their holdings. The 11 Collections are:

EAP127/1 SCTR Collections

EAP127/2 R.P. Gupta Collection

EAP127/3 Devajit Bandyopadhyay Collection

EAP127/4 Sukanta Chaudhuri Collection

EAP127/5 Samantak Das Collection

EAP127/6 Arun Ghosh Collection

EAP127/7 Satyabati Giri Collection

EAP127/8 Gautam Mitra Collection

EAP127/9 Rudrajit Mookherjee Collection

EAP127/10 Prabir Sen Collection

EAP127/11 Sukumar Sen Collection


25 September 2009

Flowers of Persian song and poetry

I would like to draw attention to some of the non-textual material copied by EAP projects. We've received several collections of music, video and oral history material, images of artefacts and, not surprisingly, many copies of photographs.

Our music collections are vaired and exciting. They include music from Iran, Africa, India and Micronesia. We recently received material from a project to collect and digitise old music in pre-literate Micronesian society. This is very different to the classical music and gramophone records from India or the indigenous recordings from the Syliphone Studio in Africa, also being copied.

Here I would like to mention the approx. 847 hours of programmes featuring Persian music that were copied as part of the project The Golha radio programmes (Flowers of Persian Song and Poetry). The programmes include music, literary commentary and poetry. They were "exemplars of excellence in the sphere of music and refined examples of literary expression, making use of a repertoire of over 250 classical and modern Persian poets, setting literary and musical standards that are still looked up to with admiration in Iran today". More information on the programmes and current research activity can be found on the Golha website, which will be added to to include details of the music, transcripts of the poetry and information on the people involved.

The importance of these programmes is immense. Broadcast between 1956 and 1979, they featured renowned critics, broadcasters, composers and performers. They helped redefine attitudes towards music and musicians within Iran. In addition, the music itself, in my opinion, is wonderful.

The programmes can be accessed via the British Library Reading Rooms (please email the Endangered Archives Programme Curator beforehand). Or you can buy CDs from the SOAS bookshop.

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