Publishing the Archive: a launch celebration at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive
As Development Editor for Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings, I was fortunate to attend recent events celebrating the launch of our online resource at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Our new project publishes a vast collection of audio recordings from ethnographic fieldwork all over the world. Produced in collaboration with UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and with additional field recordings from the University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archive, the resource covers many of the core ethnographic studies forming the ethnomusicology canon. Years of collaboration with UCLA culminated in a symposium, musical workshops and performances, bringing the historical recordings to life.
Attendees were treated to workshops on Balinese gamelan, Persian classical music, Thai classical music, and Ghanaian drumming. There were performances demonstrating the music of Thailand and Maya marimba music. Then the celebration culminated in a concert from the Pakaraguian Kulingtang Ensemble of music from the southern Philippines. These all directly related to historical recordings published in our project and were a harmonious demonstration of why preservation and access to ethnographic audio fieldwork is so important!
The performances also demonstrated a core pedagogy of ethnomusicology which is for researchers to learn to play the music they are studying. In fact, many of the performers had started at UCLA as students; Eleanor Lipat-Chesler of the Pakaraguian Kulingtang Ensemble introduced their performance by sharing that the group had originally met in an ethnomusicology class almost 20 years previously. They had been encouraged to learn to play the kulintang music of the Philippines as part of their studies and are still performing together two decades on!
All photographs by Vinai Supamongkolthaveesuk, courtesy of UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.