BBC Radio 3’s World Music Archive

by
images

LUCY DURAN

 

from http://www.independent.co.uk and https://roothogordie.wordpress.com:

BBC Radio 3’s World Music Archive


Praises to BBC Radio 3’s World Music Archive, which makes available a decade of site-specific programming from across the globe, compiled and presented by the indefatigable Andy Kershaw  and Lucy Duran. Given the financial resources and massive international audience of which the BBC can boast – and those in an age when nearly every other like minded outlet is hemorraghing both – it’s no wonder that Radio 3 has consistently churned out some of the most well-wrought radio explorations into living vernacular music anywhere, in the spirit of mid-century folk-music programmers like Peter Kennedy and Alan Lomax, but far surpassing their geographical breadth.

The  globally-accessible online archive  features indigenous music from some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones, as well as its most inaccessible states. There are audio clips of singing waitresses performing sea shanties on the coast of North Korea, and harp-playing cowboys in rural Venezuela.

In all, there will be 100 hours of programming on the BBC’s World Music Archive, alongside dozens of photographs of recordings being made in the most remote locations. Essentially the resource – a mix of entertainment, journalism and curation – comprises the output of Radio 3’s world music programmes from the past decade. An index offers the music of 40 countries.

Kershaw, who recently returned to Radio 3 after two years off-air, is especially excited to have his back catalogue given a permanent platform. “There are documentaries here I’d forgotten I’d made, some of which uncover the music and the reality of life in the world’s most extreme, secretive, feared and misunderstood countries,” he said. “I’m amazed some these regimes let me out. Even more amazed they let me in. Since joining Radio 3 in 2001, it seems I have seldom been home. This archive would explain why.”

Since recovering from a nervous breakdown, Kershaw has been back on the road, making shows in Laos, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He is about to head off to record further material in the Middle East and Southern Africa. “I haven’t finished yet,” he added. “Cautiously, I feel I’m getting the hang of this radio caper.”

One of the highlights of the archive is a recording made for the Radio 3 programme World Routes, in which presenter Lucy Duran travelled to the mountains of Georgia,to hear ancient polyphonic singing. Radio 3’s senior producer for world music, James Parkin, said the programme-makers were only able to reach the remote Svaneti region in a former Russian military helicopter flown by Georgian air force pilots. “BBC journalists frequently fly in military helicopters but not to record folk music,” he said. “We went to a meadow where 25 men of all ages stood in a small circle and sang music that hasn’t changed for 2,000 years and has probably never been recorded, let alone broadcast before. It was a very moving experience.”

Duran described the sound of the choir as “singing of astonishing beauty” and one of her favourite moments on World Routes. She said the discovery of the music of a region provided a gateway to a better understanding of its society. “Finding out about the roots music of a country leads you right to the heart of its culture,” she added. “Everything is recorded on location, and we talk to all kinds of people, getting insights into what it’s really like to be there, and what makes them tick.”

Another rare recording, made in Uganda in 2005, features a xylophone played in a hole in the ground in order to make it more resonant. “The first thing they did when we arrived was to dig a hole,” said Parkin. “This instrument has never been anywhere. You have to go to that village to hear it. What we are trying to do is offer music that you cannot hear at a festival or buy in HMV.”

Find the BBC World Music Archive here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s