WSU launches African Music and Heritage Archive

OCTOBER 13, 2015

Four albums will be launched and a brand new orchestra unveiled as WSU launches its African Music and Heritage Archive at the institution’s Nelson Mandela Drive Site in Mthatha on Monday 12 October.

The project, started in 1997, has amassed an impressive collection that includes over 15 000 LPs, nine 78 RPM Schlock, and over 9 000 singles, amongst other material – this thanks to support from the National Lottery Commission which has funded the project to the tune of over R4 million.

As part of on-going development, brand new state-of-the-art equipment sits ready to receive throngs of students, researchers and community members interested in accessing music that may no longer be commercially available.

“The lab equipment has been installed already and is in operation. Interested parties will have access to state-of-the-art computer facilities that will assist them to surf the net, listen to music for study and research purposes,” says the project’s coordinator Prof Luvuyo Dontsa. 

Four groups, namely “Marimba”, “Steel Pan”, Women in Jazz”, and Mixed Voice Jazz”, formed by former WSU students, will also use the occasion to launch their brand new albums.

A brand new orchestra comprising violins, violas, piccolos, flutes, oboes, trumpets, trombones, bassoons, cellos, double basses and timpani percussions will also be unveiled and handed over to the University’s music department.

“This is a fantastic initiative committed to the digitization of sound & video recordings on traditional and pop music in Africa and Africa in the Diaspora. This is indeed an important chapter in WSU’s history as it will add in the role that higher education institutions already play in being the reservoirs of information and knowledge,” says Dontsa.

The project is also devoted to archiving scores (sheet music), pamphlets on music, analytical notes, concert programs, posters, biographical notes, leaflets, photographs; capacitate students, researchers, artists and the community with both traditional and pop arts in Africa.