THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Sound and vision blog

6 posts from July 2009

28 July 2009

Recording of the Week: Ugandan xylophone (akadinda) song

Listen to 3 Ganda musicians interlocking at break-neck speed on the same instrument:

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=025M-C0023X0037XX-0700V0.xml

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, selected by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item was selected from the Peter Cooke Uganda collection by Dr Janet Topp Fargion, curator of World & Traditional Music at the British Library. It was recorded by Peter Cooke in September 1987 at Kidinda village, Mpigi, Central Province, Uganda.

21 July 2009

Recording of the Week: Do youngsters use dialects any more?

Listen to these teenagers from Leeds for the answer:

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=021M-C0900X08603X-0200V0.xml

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, selected by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item was selected by Jonnie Robinson, a specialist in sociolinguistics & education at the British Library. The recording was made for the BBC in 1999 by Jill Womersley for the Millennium Memory Bank, one of the largest single oral history collections in Europe.

13 July 2009

Recording of the Week: Nightingale song

From the master of one of the most beautiful songs that can be heard in the natural world. For centuries the rich medley of liquid notes of the Nightingale has been a source of inspiration for poets and musicians such as Keats, Coleridge and Beethoven. Listen to this recording and discover for yourself why the Nightingale is such a celebrated songster.

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=022M-W1CDR0001378-0800V0.xml

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, selected by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item was selected by Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife sounds at the British Library Sound Archive. It comes from the British Wildlife Recordings collection and was recorded more than 40 years ago by Lawrence Shove.

09 July 2009

Freeing jazz in the sixties

The 60’s were an exciting time for British jazz, as musicians on this side of the Atlantic began to break free of the all-pervading American influence in the genre.  Leeds College of Music's MA student Simon Monfredi focused on the 1965–1970 period in his dissertation exploring the development of the free jazz scene.

“My research focused on how and why free jazz developed in Britain, specifically how British jazz went from a purely emulative model to a music with its own identity and why this happened in this decade,” says Monfredi.

To support his research, Monfredi actively favoured the musician’s own voice, drawing heavily on the Oral History of Jazz in Britain from Archival Sound Recordings as primary source material.  He used the interviews to explore how the forging of a unique British jazz scene was influenced by the socio-political issues of the period. 

By the early 60’s, jazz was considered part of the mainstream American establishment, to the extent that it was being actively used by Washington to promote US interests and culture abroad.  America’s aggressive pursuit of an imperialistic and anti-communist agenda in both Vietnam and Cold War Europe increasingly alienated the anti-establishment subculture that was blooming in Britain in this period.  Musicians such as SME (Spontaneous Music Ensemble) and AMM began exploring ways to separate jazz from its American role model, taking inspiration instead from European influences, such as the avant-garde experiments of Stockhausen and John Cage.

“As there is very little in the way of written interviews or testimonials from the musicians involved with the free jazz scene, Archival Sound Recordings was crucial in providing the insight into how these developments took place" adds Monfredi.  "The research simply would not have been possible without these recordings.”

Ginevra House, Archival Sound Recordings Engagement Officer

06 July 2009

Recording of the Week: elusive pulse

On first hearing, the ensemble of the first part of this recording, combining voice, engoma drum and bamboo flute, sounds dull and even incompetent. Hand clapping midway through introduces what seems like a cross rhythm but in a flash it reveals the complex background rhythm in compound time, placing the musicians’ artistry into perspective. A moment of musical magic not uncommon in traditional music.

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=025M-C0023X0005XX-0600V0.xml

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, selected by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item was selected by Chris Clark of the British Library Sound Archive. It comes from the Peter Cooke Uganda Recordings collection and was recorded on 10th October 1966 at Bundibugyo, Bwamba, Tooro District, Uganda.

02 July 2009

Hundreds of rare tracks added to Archival Sound Recordings

World music – 13 new collections including unique field recordings from Botswana, Senegal, Zambia, Mozambique, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, China and Fiji.

Early Record Catalogues – 170 scanned images of record catalogues marketing early commercial recordings from 1898 to 1926.  All fully text searchable, these are an invaluable resource for studying recording history.

Case studies page - view our new videos showing how other people have been using primary source audio materials in teaching and research. If you’d like to be featured on this page yourself, tell us how Archival Sound Recordings has supported your work.