Groundbreaking study of the world's largest archive of field recordings of African music
Winner of IASPM Book Prize, given by IASPM, 2023
Winner of the Bruno Nettl Prize, given by the Society for Ethnomusicology, 2023
Joint-Winner of the Ruth Stone Prize (with Jessica Perrea), given by the Society for Ethnomusicology, 2023
This book is an ethnographic study of sound archives and the processes of creative decolonization that form alternative modes of archiving and curating in the 21st century. It explores the histories and afterlives of sound collections and practices at the International Library of African Music. Sound Fragments follows what happens when a colonial sound archive is repurposed and reimagined by local artists in post-apartheid South Africa. The narrative speaks to larger issues in sound studies, curatorial practices, and the reciprocity and ethics of listening to and reclaiming culture. Sound Fragments interrogates how Xhosa arts activism contributes to an expanding notion of what a sound or cultural archive could be, and where it may resonate now and in future.
A note on terminology and language, p. 3 • Prologue, p. 4 • Introduction, p. 6 • PART ONE - Colonial Microphones • Chapter One Hugh Tracey Records the Sound of Africa, p. 25 • Chapter Two What's Behind a Field Recording?, p. 50 • PART TWO - Local Voices • Chapter Three Xhosa Anthems, Donkey Carts and Township Terms, p. 72 • Chapter Four Art and Community Activism Inside and Around the Archive, p. 100 • Chapter Five The Black Power Station, p. 127 • Conclusion Curating Sound Stories, p. 152 • Epilogues, p. 164 • References, p. 169 • Appendix I: Listening Sessions and Interviews, p. 188 • Appendix II: Song Translations, p. 192
"Sound Fragments offers exciting new perspectives on sound archives as sites of action and creative activism. Drawing on his long-term association with the International Library of African Music in South Africa, Lobley embarks on an inspirational journey to rescue sounds from the containments of a colonial past and place them back into the hands and hearts of the communities to whom they belong. In so doing, he breathes new life into our understanding of collaboration, ownership, sensorial self-witnessing and creative rediscovery."~Angela Impey, author of Sound Walking: Women, Music and Environmental Justice in an African Borderland
"This brilliant contribution to the literature on musical repatriation and collaborative research beautifully details the motives and methods of independent South African artists and culture workers as they repurposed and reimagined colonial-era archival recordings to address contemporary life in the complex arena of post-Apartheid Eastern Cape Province."~Anthony Seeger, distinguished professor emeritus, UCLA