Welcome to sonic-heritage.org, a site we hope will contribute to a growing discussion about how globally we record, collect, and share music and other sound archives. Here we will foster dynamic, user-driven media exchange, forum-based discussions, and an article-style blog that will facilitate a space for interdisciplinary dialogue about (as well as problematize the many definitions of) intangible cultural heritage, preservation, and shared access.
We envision sonic-heritage.org as an approachable space, one that encourages a diverse and present conversation about sound archives that can be readily heard, seen, and added to. As we develop this website we will share information about where and how to participate.
I’m happy to sort of “soft launch” our first post by sharing one of my favorite songs by DDC Mlimani Park Orchestra, titled “Clara.” Frank Gunderson, one of our contributing authors here at sonic-heritage.org, posted this 1984 recording of Clara on his soundcloud account recently as an extension of his work with Mlimani Park’s lead singer, Hassan Rehani Bichuka. This song is a perfect example of the musicality of Bichuka with Muhidin Gurumo and Mlimani Park, and of why I love zilipendwa dance music from Tanzania.
I had the great pleasure of making music with Bichuka in the summer of 2012, a topic I plan to discuss here at sonic-heritage.org again at greater length in the future. We collaborated with a number of musicians to create an album of music that we recorded at Florida State University. One of my fondest musical memories is meeting with Bichuka and crew at Frank’s house as we planned the songs we were going to perform and record for the album. There was a moment when Bichuka opened his personal notebook and just began to sing a few melodies, lyrics he had written by hand in a composition pad. I sat at my keyboard and listened to his songs, and we worked together to build instrumental patterns to accompany his tunes. Over the next week we realized the songs, most of them from that notebook of his. It was such a fun, connected experience, and one that I think few people discuss once music has become recorded, archived, and commercialized.
So stick with us as we develop our site and let us know if you have any questions. We want to expand the conversation of how humans all over the world interact musically, and we want to know what you think, too.