Publishing the Archive: a launch celebration at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive

02 December 2019

Cultural Studies | Ethnic Studies | History

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. 

Khmen Sai Yok (Sai Yok waterfall [Kanchanaburi province, Thailand]). Performers: Supeena Insee Adler, Christopher Adler, Jenjit Gasigitamrong, Candy Krajansri

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!

West African drumming workshop (led by Francis Kofi Akotuah and Will Matczynski and featuring our own Managing Director, Khal Rudin and Senior Publisher, Louise Hemmings)

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!

Thai traditional music from the David Morton Collection Khmen Sai Yok (Sai Yok waterfall [Kanchanaburi province, Thailand]) Performer: Supeena Insee Adler

All photographs by Vinai Supamongkolthaveesuk, courtesy of UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings is available now. For more information or to request free trial access, please e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Full access is restricted to authenticated academic institutions which have purchased a licence.

About the Author

Hannah Davison

Hannah Davison

Since starting in the Development team at Adam Matthew in 2014, I've worked on many projects including Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings and American Indian Newspapers. Now based in our Chicago office, I spend my time travelling to archives across the US to conduct research for projects.