Recovering a set of ethnographic: music recordings of Mozambique

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In the framework of the research project “Timbila, Makwayela and Marrabenta: one century of musical representation of Mozambique” one of the priority tasks involved the digitization of a set of 46 open reel tapes, consisting of both cellulose acetate and polyester based magnetic tapes, with very relevant ethnographic music recordings of Mozambique dating from the 1970s, together with the corresponding handwritten paper documentation, which had been acquired by NOVA University in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, due to infiltration problems and consequent rise in relative humidity values in the area where these materials had been archived, the whole group was severely attacked by fungi, which compromised their physical and chemical integrity as well as the access to the information they contained. We propose to present the conservation strategies that were chosen to stop the degradation and restore the chemical and physical stability to these materials—audio carriers and written documentation—, as well as the digitization procedures that were followed to allow the study of this unique set of recorded music from Mozambique by our team of researchers, a set which includes examples sung in several of the languages spoken in the territory— Ronga, Tzonga, Chitsua, Macua, Manica, Gi-tonga, Xi-Ndau, Xi-Ngoni—, comprising different themes, from work and dance melodies, to lullabies and ritual practices, accompanied by instruments such as the timbila, mbira, violin, and drums. Furthermore, the information extracted from the audio carriers and paperwork was added to the online relational database with a full set of normalized metadata.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2019
EventAnnual Conference of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives - Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum, Netherlands
Duration: 30 Sept 20193 Oct 2019
Conference number: 50


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives
Abbreviated titleIASA 2019
Internet address


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