Dec 20, 2013

Fine Art Friday: Analog Africa Musical Archives

Kind of a different twist on Fine Art Friday, but I was really impressed at both the back story and dedication to the vinyl history that has gone into archiving the record label Analog Africa and its body of recorded history. Though I was initially suspect of yet another white guy capitalizing on authentic Black music from Africa, his interest seemed genuinely driven to share the music and help the artists archive their own cultural and personal history.

An avid vinyl digger in the 1990s, a Tunisian flight attendant known as Samy Ben Redjeb used his status of globe trotter to book tickets to the far reaches of Africa for lost and vintage vinyl hunting sessions. Despite developing chronic asthma from his dust-covered treasure hunts, combined with serious allergic reaction to the fungus that can be found on the covers to old African LPs, Redjeb had to rent office space for all of the vinyl storage and be sure to keep his personal home base and bedroom free of records to keep infections at arms length.

Quoting his logic and deep interest in the music, Redjeb explains that “Each region has its own micro-traditions, and to compare music from Ethiopia to music from Benin would be like comparing music from Portugal with music from Russia. In every African country, if you take a bit of time, you can really hear the differences and understand that it’s completely different styles of music.”

He is still eternally on the hunt in his travels, though no longer as a steward, but rather a global citizen of vinyl culture always on his mission to find more audio gold to preserve for future generations.


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