Prism Sound Helps Preserve Unique Tanzanian Music Recordings

Date: 01/06/2015
Prism Sound Helps Preserve Unique Tanzanian Music Recordings
The Tanzanian Heritage Project (THP) is using Prism Sound's Lyra Audio Interface in a unique bid to rescue and digitise the country's tape-based music archive, thus preserving a precious musical heritage for future generations. 
 
Rebecca Corey, co-founder and Executive Director of the Tanzania heritage Project (THP) hatched the idea for the digitisation project in 2010, with her Tanzanian friend and THP co-founder Benson Rukantabula, while Corey was at home in the US recovering from a motorcycle accident in Dar es Salaam. 
 
"Just before leaving Tanzania, Benson had given me a few CDs of old Tanzanian music," explains Corey. "The quality of the recordings weren't great - they sounded as though they had been recorded from the radio on to a cassette and then transferred to CD - but the music was wonderful." The music became a soundtrack to Corey's recovery and she spent hours talking with Rukantabula and researching the history of Tanzanian music. 
 
"That's when I learned about Radio Tanzania, and the fact that pretty much all of the music recorded, from independence in the early 1960s through the mid-1980s, was all stored on reel-to-reel tapes that had never been professionally digitised," she recalls. Corey was determined that once recovered, she would go back to Tanzania to preserve and digitise those tapes. She also wanted to raise awareness of the country's wealth of musical heritage. "While West African music has got a fair bit of attention, East African music is virtually unheard of on a global level," she says.
 
Finally able to return to Tanzania in early 2012, Corey visited the archives. "That year, we managed to purchase a Tandberg reel-to-reel machine and a Studer was donated by the British Library," Corey explains. But due to lack of funds, the digitisation project effectively stalled for most of 2013 and 2014. "In the end, we weren't able to negotiate a satisfactory agreement with the government radio station about future access to the digitised material," she explains. "So we've shifted our focus to digitising the reel-to-reel archives of other radio stations and private collections.
 
As well as the Studer A67 and Tandberg TD 20A, Corey has been using Prism Sound's Lyra Audio Interface, and Ableton Live software. "We bought the Lyra after speaking to several professional archivists and they all recommended the unit as being the best for A/D conversion on the market. We found it to be affordable for our limited budget and a great centrepiece to our DAW."
 
Corey says the THP studio setup is kept "relatively simple. The key is achieving the highest quality conversion possible from the analogue signal from the reel-to-reel machine, to the digital version on the computer. We're confident that the Lyra is capturing and converting the signal and making the most faithful copy possible."
 
Ease of use has proved crucial on this project, which relies on enthusiasts. "No one on our team is a professional audio engineer or archivist," says Corey. "We took on this project because we were music lovers who believed that this music needed to be preserved before it was too late, and because no-one else had stepped in to do it. So the fact that the Lyra is easy to use and produces incredible quality sound has made us very satisfied with its performance so far."
  
Having just got the project moving again, thus far around four hours of material from 12 tapes have been digitised. Many of the tapes are in poor condition and need to be assessed and cleaned before they can be played and digitised. As Corey explains, it's a slow, careful process. "We assess the condition of each reel to determine whether it is in good enough condition to digitise. We don't want to attempt digitisation on a reel and end up damaging it further. Once a reel is ready, it sometimes needs to be re-wound so that the 'pack' of the tape is even and won't rub against the reel flange. We minimise the number of times the reel is wound and played as much as possible, to avoid any potential damage to the tape."
 
Due to the slow nature of the work, Corey estimates the process will take at least another eight to ten months of full-time work, using one Digital Audio Workstation to preserve and digitise the remaining reels. "We are continuously searching for additional reels to digitise though, so it's really an ongoing process," she adds.
 
The process has already unearthed many cultural gems, with Corey's favourites being songs dating back to the time of the country's struggle for independence, and just after. "At that time, the music was all about building unity, promoting peace; gaining (and then celebrating) freedom from colonisation," she explains. "Musically, there's some wonderful content, ranging from acoustic folk songs to Tanzania's distinctive dance music from the late 1960s and 70s, with influences encompassing Congolese rumba guitar styles, full horn sections, and beautiful vocal harmonies."
 
When the digitisation project is eventually complete, Corey plans to make the music "as widely accessible as possible to Tanzanians, particularly music students, through music schools and arts programmes. We also hope to release the material internationally, through a record label. Any proceeds from these potential releases would then go to musicians who have never received royalties from their work, and to the musicians' health insurance scheme, jointly administered by the National Social Security Fund and the Tanzania Musicians' Network." 
 
THP's studio is located in the same compound as the Music Mayday music school, which as she explains, also organises listening and discussion sessions, seminars and workshops with elder musicians, and studio recording projects. "In this way, the digitisation is just a piece of a larger cultural revitalization effort that THP is undertaking."
 
More information about the project can be found on Facebook, Instagram and at www.tanzaniaheritageproject.org
 
www.prismsound.com


Tags: Prism Sound | Lyra Audio Interface | Tanzanian Heritgage Project | Rebecca Corey
Submitted by Sue Sillitoe (White Noise Public Relations Ltd)
View author's directory page

Related Articles
  • Manipulate and Edit

    Manipulate and Edit

  • The New ITU-R BS1770-2 Loudness Standard

    The New ITU-R BS1770-2 Loudness Standard

  • Modern Test Techniques for Digital Audio Broadcast Systems

    Modern Test Techniques for Digital Audio Broadcast Systems

  • The Prism Sound Effect

    The Prism Sound Effect


News
VITEC Streamlines IPTV, Digital Signage, and Video Wall Workflows at ISE 2019 Posted: 16/01/2019
VITEC Streamlines IPTV, Digital Signage, and Video Wall Workflows at ISE 2019
VITEC, a worldwide leader in advanced video encoding and streaming solutions, today announced it will showcase the latest capabilities for its award-winning EZ TV IPTV & Digital Signage Platform at ISE 2019 on Stand 14-M200. The chosen solution for sports and entertainment venues, enterprise, government, and military agencies in Europe and the U.S., EZ TV's comprehensive feature set enables any organization to centrally manage and stream HD, low-latency, in-house feeds and TV channels, as well as create eye-catching digital signage and video walls for distribution to any displays through a facility.
Tags: VITEC | IPTV | Digital Signage | Video Wall | ISE 2019 | Broadcast-Grade | EZ TV | High-Quality | Eye-Catching | Display | ISE 2019 | ISE 2019
Submitted by InGear PR
More from this author
Argosy brings intelligent power management and mission-critical cabling for AV, broadcast and smart homes to ISE 2019 Posted: 16/01/2019
Argosy brings intelligent power management and mission-critical cabling for AV, broadcast and smart homes to ISE 2019

Argosy (10-K165), a leading international supplier of HD broadcast cables and studio infrastructure products, is bringing a range of exciting intelligent power management and mission critical cabling equipment to ISE 2019, which will interest visitors seeking better ways to install and manage their infrastructure, whether for broadcast studios or outside broadcast, AV or smart home installations.

Tags: Argosy | ISE 2019 | infrastructure specialist | systems management | HD broadcast cables | broadcast studio | outside broadcast | AV | smart home | intelligent power. Chris Smeeton | Josh Simons | MKM Marcomms | MKM Marketing Communications | ISE 2019 | ISE 2019
Submitted by MKM Marketing Communications
More from this author
Guigo TV selects Globecast as content partner for its new Brazilian OTT platform Posted: 16/01/2019
Guigo TV selects Globecast as content partner for its new Brazilian OTT platform

Globecast, the global solutions provider for media, announces it has partnered with Såo Paulo, Brazil-based Guigo TV to provide 12 channels in Brazil for Guigo TV’s new OTT platform. The channels cover various genres including sports, lifestyle and children’s programming.

Tags: Channel distribution | pay-TV | distribution | international content
Submitted by Jump PR
More from this author
Vitec Production Solutions at the BSC Expo Posted: 15/01/2019
Vitec Production Solutions at the BSC Expo
Making its official debut at the BSC Expo will be the all-new dual-battery bracket, which enables users to power a Gemini panel with two industry-standard 14.4V broadcast camera batteries mounted directly to the yoke or light stand. With its extremely lightweight and on-board, ballast-free power supply, Gemini has always been easy to transport and rig at on-location shoots. Now it's even more practical in situations where portable power is preferred over mains power, including a broad range of ENG and ENP applications. Unlike competing LED panels, which can only generate 50 percent of their maximum output when battery-powered, Gemini can operate at up to 100 percent intensity running from mains and battery power alike.
Tags: Vitec Production Solutions | BSC Expo | Litepanels | Dual-Battery Bracket | Gemini 2x1 Soft Panel | OConnor | Fluid Head 2560 | Anton/Bauer | Dionic XT Battery Series
Submitted by Wall Street Communications
More from this author
ISE 2019 Visitors Will Get Their First Chance To See DPA Exceptional Subminiature Microphones Posted: 15/01/2019
ISE 2019 Visitors Will Get Their First Chance To See DPA and rsquo;s Exceptional Subminiature Microphones
At ISE 2019, DPA Microphones will introduce the AV, Conference and Installation markets to its smallest ever high-end pro audio microphone capsule that is incorporated into the d:screet™ CORE 6060 and 6061 Subminiature Microphones and the d:fine™ CORE 6066 Subminiature Headset Microphone.
Tags: DPA Microphones | ISE 2019 | Subminiature Microphones | Series 6000 | ISE 2019
Submitted by White Noise Public Relations Ltd
More from this author
TV Cultura Brazil Prepares for the Future with Grass Valley Posted: 15/01/2019
TV Cultura Brazil Prepares for the Future with Grass Valley

Brazil’sTV Cultura has selected Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, to enhance its production workflow with a newly expanded playout infrastructure. The broadcaster is now equipped with more channels, higher resolution content and smoother integration – supporting its vision to deliver richer content to its viewers.

Tags: Grass Valley | TV Cultura | Brazil
Submitted by Platform Comms
More from this author
Location Sound Hosts Wisycom Q and A for Broadcast and TV Professionals Posted: 15/01/2019
Location Sound Hosts Wisycom Q and amp;A for Broadcast and TV Professionals

Wisycom, designer and builder of the most sophisticated RF solutions for broadcast, film and live production, is pleased to announce a Wisycom USA Q&A party to reinforce the company’s U.S. presence, which was announced last year. The networking event, being held at Location Sound in North Hollywood on Friday, January 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., aims to strengthen the brand’s status among film and broadcast professionals.

Tags: D. Pagan Communications | WISYCOM
Submitted by D. Pagan Communications
More from this author
BP Energizes Its Media Production with EditShare Posted: 15/01/2019
BP Energizes Its Media Production with EditShare

EditShare® a technology leader in intelligent scale-out storage, AQC and media management solutions, announced today that global energy brand BP, has invested in the XStream EFS scale-out storage platform and Flow media asset management to manage the commissioning, producing and publishing of BP-related media projects.

Tags: EditShare | BP | media | storage | film | documentary | production | production | postproduction
Submitted by Zazil Media Group
More from this author
CRYSTAL VISION SOLVES BROADCASTERS IP AND SDI PROBLEMS AT BVE 2019 (STAND E50) Posted: 15/01/2019
CRYSTAL VISION SOLVES BROADCASTERS IP AND SDI PROBLEMS AT BVE 2019 (STAND E50)

Crystal Vision will be showing its flexible IP platform, the MARBLE-V1 media processor hardware and the initial six software apps which run on it. These apps are IP . Crystal Vision will also be showing its extensive range of modular interface and keyers for those planning SDI projects, including its popular chroma keyers, video delays and fail-safe routing switches.

Tags: Crystal Vision | BVE 2019
Submitted by Crystal Vision Ltd.
More from this author
Calrec Brio audio consoles see major success in Japanese market Posted: 15/01/2019
Calrec Brio audio consoles see major success in Japanese market

In 2018, Calrec Audio generated serious momentum in the Japanese broadcasting market with the sale of 40 of its Brio audio consoles to a number of Japanese broadcasters. The customers are a mix of existing and new.

Tags: Audio; audio consoles; audio routing;
Submitted by Jump PR
More from this author
New Cobalt Digital Customizable 4K Encoder Cards Now Shipping Posted: 14/01/2019
New Cobalt Digital Customizable 4K Encoder Cards Now Shipping

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Cobalt Digital today announced the availability of its 9992ENC series of HEVC/H.265/MPEG-5 encoders for openGear® frames. Designed for a variety of broadcast applications, the dual-slot card offers customized I/O options and extensive audio support for cost-effective contribution, distribution, ENG, IPTV, and OTT solutions.

Tags: Cobalt Digital | encoder | distribution | ENG
Submitted by Pipeline Communications
More from this author
TVU Networks Receives End-of-Year Innovation Awards Posted: 14/01/2019
TVU Networks Receives End-of-Year Innovation Awards

TVU Networks, the global technology and innovation leader in live IP solutions, today announced the company was awarded two 2018 Product Innovation Awards from Future Publishing. Publishers of TV Technology, Government Video, Radio World and Creative Planet/DV and VE magazines, the annual Future Publishing awards honor the year’s top product introductions in TV, professional video and broadcast/online radio technology.

Tags: video-over-IP | IP-video-production | TVU-Networks | automated-video-content-management | cloud-based-video
Submitted by Pipeline Communications
More from this author
RHC to Present Lava Cable Product Line at NAMM 2019 Posted: 14/01/2019
RHC to Present Lava Cable Product Line at NAMM 2019

RHC will showcase the Lava Cable product line at the 2019 NAMM Show (Booth #11510). RHC acquired the brand’s assets last spring and has streamlined the Lava Cable product offerings to focus on the company’s best-selling products.

Tags: RapcoHorizon | BVE 2019 | BVE 2019
Submitted by D. Pagan Communications
More from this author
PMC Showcases Dolby Atmos Adoption at NAMM 2019 Posted: 14/01/2019
PMC Showcases Dolby Atmos Adoption at NAMM 2019

A Dolby Atmos® demo suite will form the centerpiece of PMC’s booth (16112) at NAMM 2019, giving artists, producers and recording engineers an opportunity to experience Dolby Atmos through a world-class monitoring system.

Tags: PMC Speakers | NAMM 2019 | Dolby Atmos Demo Room | Capitol Studios
Submitted by White Noise Public Relations Ltd
More from this author
Rising Star Elle Exxe Is Named As Pro7ect 2019 Resident Artist Posted: 14/01/2019
Rising Star Elle Exxe Is Named As Pro7ect 2019 and rsquo;s Resident Artist
Elle Exxe, the formidable and fully fledged electro-clash pop star, will be the resident artist at this year’s Pro7ect songwriting retreat, which teams top songwriters with top producers for three days or pure collaborative inspiration at Brighton’s Hotel Pelirocco.
Tags: Pro7ect 2019 | Songwriters Retreat | Elle Exxe | Hotel Pelirocco | Brighton
Submitted by White Noise Public Relations Ltd
More from this author
Pages:   [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >>