World's biggest jukebox, Alan Lomax style (no quarters needed)
April 19, 2017 2:47 PM   Subscribe

"Since 1990, the Global Jukebox has functioned as a digital repository of music from [folklorist Alan] Lomax’s global archive...Now, updated and put online, the newly-launched Global Jukebox web site provides an interactive interface, giving you access to detailed analyses of folk music from all over the world, and highly technical “descriptive data” for each song." Via Open Culture, thousands of international folk songs (and more!) are now available for your listening and learning pleasure.

"The Global Jukebox presents traditions that are linked to the roots of the world's peoples. Alan Lomax called it a "democratic cultural system". The visitor may explore collections of music, dance, and speech from almost every corner of the globe, recorded by hundreds of pioneering ethnographers at times when mass communications were less pervasive than now."

The Global Jukebox, previously.
posted by MonkeyToes (9 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
This is really cool, and I hope they don't run into copyright issues. The "About" page is a little vague as to whether they obtained express permission for streaming the music on this public site, and instead they seem to be relying on fair use with a DMCA take down system, but under the DMCA link it says "404 Not Found." It probably won't matter much for what they have up now, but if they start trying to stream pop music from the 1980s without express permission (which is listed, but there are no examples as of yet), somebody will come complaining. They always do.
posted by Muddler at 3:17 PM on April 19, 2017

I remember Alan presenting on the Global Jukebox idea in the 90s before we realized the internet was going to be what it has become. He was fading intellectually by then but he sort of grasped even then that the idea of an expertly curated centralized platform was going to be obsolete. He was a fascinating person. I only met him twice but I am glad I did get the chance.
posted by spitbull at 4:56 PM on April 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

He was, with his generation, however, completely wrong about the effects of mass media on local cultures.
posted by spitbull at 4:57 PM on April 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

The concept has merit.
posted by y2karl at 5:02 PM on April 19, 2017

I knew the name Alan Lomax seemed familiar, but it took a while to remember why. I've got an album of his, Angola Prison Spirituals. It's lovely, but heartbreaking.
posted by veedubya at 5:30 PM on April 19, 2017

This is terrific, thanks for posting it—I guess I missed it the last time around! Lomax was a national treasure.

If anyone else is concerned about copyright issues, maybe read the earlier thread, where the subject was done to death (with a mod request to knock it off), and consider it taken care of? That's got to be the least interesting thing to say about this glorious trove.
posted by languagehat at 5:55 PM on April 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

In one of the rare cases where the exception may actually prove the rule, the songs from North American Tribes carry the notice "Subject to tribal permission", so they are at least aware of the concern over permission and note it in some instances.

Browsing the "jukebox" at whim brought me to a lot of wonderful stuff. A Koreans Song of the Bellows, a beautiful song from Thrace, a Khmer classical ballet Lullabye, and an amazing Balinese piece Genggong. The interface is fun to play with, and looks great, but it isn't the easiest to use to find or refind specific works, but it's damned enjoyable to play with. An excellent post.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:07 PM on April 19, 2017

Oh, it is, however, a little unfortunate that many of the pieces are just short excerpts rather than complete or even just longer samples as just when you start to really enjoy something, it's over.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:09 PM on April 19, 2017

I love this. I wish I could hear the Haudenosaunee songs of my region (western New York).
posted by Riverine at 8:07 AM on April 20, 2017

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