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Public Lecture: Gramophones in Central Asia

By Vic Swift 6 August 2012
Group of men in turbans and other headgear, regarding a gramophone, colour drawing.

Between 1902 and 1917, the Gramophone Company of London sent several of their recording engineers on epic journeys across the southern regions of the Tsarist Russian Empire, where they recorded the various cultures and ethnic groups they encountered. What resulted was an intimate view of pre-Soviet life, from the Caucasus mountains to the deserts of Russian Turkestan, in the form of several thousand commercial gramophone discs.

The names of many of the recording artists have passed into legend in their home countries, and their influence continues to reverberate. Using extensive archive documentation from the UK and elsewhere, Will Prentice will explore the hidden stories of the artists and recording engineers, and ask in what ways the recordings reflect the social history of the region.

Will Prentice received his MMus in ethnomusicology from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1999. For the last 13 years he has worked as a sound archivist for the British Library, where he is currently Head of Technical Services within the Sound & Vision department.

Wed 5 Sep 2012, 13.00 – 14.00
Foyle Suite, Centre for Conservation, The British Library

Book online here.


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