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British Library's world music archive goes online for free
September 4, 2009 10:01 AM   Subscribe

British Library's world music archive goes online for free. Amounts to around 28,000 recordings dating from 1898 onwards, according to The Guardian this equates with "about 2,000 hours of singing, speaking, yelling, chanting, blowing, banging, tinkling and many other verbs associated with what is a uniquely rich sound archive" The weirdest one? - possibly the recording of an Assamese woodworm munching its way through a window frame in the dead of night.......
posted by MajorDundee (31 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's the actual Archival Sound library.

This is one of those things, like the field recordings of the Lomax's, that might have far-reaching, transformative impact on music. Or, at least, it might have that sort of impact on me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2009


Here's the link to the British Library's sound archives.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2009


And what's more, it answers this AskMe from last week.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:10 AM on September 4, 2009


SWEET! Thanks.
posted by elder18 at 10:17 AM on September 4, 2009


"Due to copyright restrictions this recording is only available to users in the United Kingdom."

Oh for the love of Benny Hill... *sends the BL a recording of my colorful cursing in Argentinian Spanish*
posted by Iosephus at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2009


If you are in a licensed UK higher or further education institution you can

* Search all recordings on the site
* Listen to the recordings and download them
* Add notes and tags and create a favourites list

Everyone can

* Search all recordings on the site
* Listen to recordings where copyright permits - currently over 23,700 items
* View notes and tags added by other users

UK students: to your torrent boxen, for the good of the world (of people who like lots of free/historic music)!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:23 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just listened to a 1958 recording of a woman from the Isle of Man talking. Didn't understand a word.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Due to copyright restrictions this recording is only available to users in the United Kingdom.

Oh, Holy Queen Victoria!
posted by blucevalo at 10:27 AM on September 4, 2009


COOL! Thank you. Great find.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:38 AM on September 4, 2009


Disappointed that this was not linked: Bumwa, the Assamese woodworm
posted by ymgve at 10:48 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's everything I hoped it would be.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:50 AM on September 4, 2009


I just listened to a 1958 recording of a woman from the Isle of Man talking. Didn't understand a word.

Really? It took me maybe the first dozen words to adjust to her accent, but after that I found it no trickier than following the dialogue when I watched Trainspotting a week ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:53 AM on September 4, 2009


after that I found it no trickier than following the dialogue when I watched Trainspotting a week ago.

Even Spud's?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:56 AM on September 4, 2009


Thanks, MajorDundee! I just finished reading Penelope Fitzgerald's BBC-in-wartime novel Human Voices, and as a followup this couldn't be more hilariously apropos.
posted by tangerine at 11:04 AM on September 4, 2009


Oh for the love of balls that woodworm would make me want to shoot something.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:10 AM on September 4, 2009


It took me maybe the first dozen words to adjust to her accent, but after that I found it no trickier than following the dialogue when I watched Trainspotting a week ago.

That's assuming that following "Trainspotting" dialogue is a snap ..... which it wasn't, not for me, anyhow. That and "Naked" (well, and most Mike Leigh films) still have me scratching my head.
posted by blucevalo at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2009


Apropos of nothing much, the Isle Of Man accent is very close to scouse (Liverpudlian and evirons). The Trainspotting dialogue is actually fairly "cleaned up for general consumption" - if you want to hear something close to the real deal (that most non-Jocks would almost certainly need subtitles for) check out Rab C Nesbit. Naturally as an ex-pat Glaswegian hearing that brogue makes me go all misty-eyed.......

Penelope Fitzgerald - you're displaying superb tase there tangerine! Ever tried The Blue Flower, Offshore or The Gate Of Angels?
posted by MajorDundee at 11:20 AM on September 4, 2009


Oh man, can't wait to start doing my world music radio show again.
posted by ikahime at 11:22 AM on September 4, 2009


Bumwa, the Assamese woodworm

"Bumwa?" "Assamese?" For a second I thought I clicked back on the Beavis and Butthead thread without realizing it.

Heh heh...wood.
posted by total warfare frown at 11:29 AM on September 4, 2009


Damn, that is a loud woodworm. I would be probably torching the frame, and in the process the whole house and myself by mistake, after half an hour of that in the middle of the night.
posted by Iosephus at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2009


Even Spud's?

Yep. With Spud, as with the Manx woman, I am probably losing 5% of it to unfamiliar inflections, sudden tonal shifts, and whatnot. But this occasionally happens when I am talking with people who grew up a few blocks away from me as well.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:32 AM on September 4, 2009


I am disappointed that I can't enjoy this archive from the US, but I am happy to consider it payback for all the times people in the UK have been shafted by non-accessible Hulu videos and the like.
posted by Spatch at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2009


ymgve: "Disappointed that this was not linked: Bumwa, the Assamese woodworm"

Bumwa, the Assamese woodworm
had a very shiny...

no, I can't do it.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:23 PM on September 4, 2009


Aw man, the college I work at isn't licensed for this archive yet.

At least I have my JISC e-books for FE archive...
posted by Katemonkey at 2:03 PM on September 4, 2009


Assamese woodworm munching its way through a window frame in the dead of night...
Take these wood shavings and STFU
All through the night
I was only praying for ten minutes of shuteye
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:16 PM on September 4, 2009


Iosephus sends the BL a recording of his colorful cursing in Argentinian Spanish

"Malvinas Argentinas?"
posted by Skeptic at 2:41 PM on September 4, 2009


"only in the UK"

Bah! Humbug!
posted by Twang at 3:53 PM on September 4, 2009


"Malvinas Argentinas?"

Yikes, no. What the hell is colorful about a trite warcry about an old and useless dick-measuring contest for which not even Job would offer himself to arbitrate.

This being the BL, I would instead troll them with something about how, excepting Shakespeare, British literature is so much crap we down here had to raise Borges since his childhood so he could write the good bits and pieces of it we could really enjoy instead.

*checks my home address can't be traced from any of my internet waterholes, sighs in relief*
posted by Iosephus at 5:24 PM on September 4, 2009


This is monumental. Thanks so much for this post, MajorDundee.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:34 PM on September 4, 2009


I say... Too late m^% Fu&^%&.... everything of interest you got is already in the web and the rest,....What is not in the web... Nobody gives a Damn... Keep it!
posted by CRESTA at 9:50 PM on September 4, 2009


So, um... I reckon that comment from CRESTA was for those who weren't getting enough TEH WEIRD in this thread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:38 AM on September 5, 2009


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