Special Collections at the Wilson Music Library: Digital Collection of East African Recordings

An overview of the special collections available for students, faculty, and researchers held by the Anne Potter Wilson Music Library.

Dennis Clark, schoolgirls in the adungu (traditional harp) section of a traditional Ugandan ensemble, color photograph, 2004.

Dennis Clark, Ugandan musicians playing the amadinda (traditional xylophone) and ensaasi (gourd rattles), color photograph, 2004.

The Digital Collection of East African Recordings (2004-09):

The Uganda Traditional Music Recordings Collection (DCEAR) represents the fruits of ethnic field recordings made across Uganda by Centurio Balikoowa from 2004-2009 of both traditional music and dramatic performances, and contemporary compositions in traditional formats, both from local communities as well as through inter-class youth competitions. Most of the audio content contained within this collection overlaps with that held in the Digital Collection of East African Recordings in Vanderbilt’s online Global Music Archive, where these performances can be streamed freely.

About the Collection:

  • Size of the Collection: 293 CD-R discs, associated agreement forms, metadata as collected by the recordist, images, and other miscellaneous materials
  • Strengths of the Collection: Unique field recordings capturing snapshots of folk music within contemporary Ugandan culture (e.g., wedding songs, work songs, royal music) and musical documentation of the role of music in reflecting/informing about current issues (e.g., songs addressing HIV/AIDS, Ugandan politics, etc.)
  • Diversity: As elsewhere in Africa, Ugandan culture is deep and extremely diverse. This collection contains recordings from cultures across the various Bantu kingdoms of the southern part of the country as well as from the Nilotic and Sudanic regions of the north, from the mountainous areas of the south and east to the shores of Lake Victoria and the swampy banks of the Nile.
  • How Do I Access the Collection? The vast majority of the recordings and metadata from this collection are available through the Digital Collection of East African Recordings in the Global Music Archive. The physical agreement forms and original media are held in the Music Library Vault. A formal finding aid is in development.