The vast majority of the collection is the full contents of the Leo Sarkisian Music Library transferred from the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. to the University of Michigan for preservation, teaching, and research use. The media library supported Sarkisian’s research and recording career at VOA (1963-2012) and served as the principal analog audio resources for the production of the Music Time in Africa radio show. The collection also includes personal papers and memorabilia from Leo Sarkisian and his wife Mary. New materials in digital form are added to the collection as tape recordings and personal papers are digitized.
Pressed LP disc, Pressed 45rpm disc, Optical disc (including CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, VCD), Analog audiocassette, Polyester open reel tape, Acetate open reel tape, Digital audio file (including MP3, WAV, AIFF, etc.), Photographic negative, and Text document
English, Swahili, Hausa, Yoruba, Amharic, and other African languages
African heritage music, Radio programs, Radio scripts, Music radio programs, Traditional, and Shortwave radio broadcasts
Portions available for online streaming and image download. Limited physical access on location until archival processing completed in 2021.
Some portions of the collection subject to US or international copyright laws. Radio scripts and portions of the Voice of America radio broadcasts are in the public domain.
Spreadsheets, Online MODS records, MARC records, and EAD finding aid
Conway, P. & Askew, K. "From International Shortwave to Digital Rebroadcast: Transforming Music Time in Africa for a New Worldwide Audience." IASA Journal 48 (2018), pp. 31-48. http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/143181 Gwamna, B. P. Multicultural Programming as a Strategy in Public Diplomacy: Leo Sarkisian and the Voice of America’s ‘Music Time in Africa.' Ph.D. Dissertation, Ohio University, 1992.
As the central component of the radio programs and the associated musical inserts, the heart and soul of the Leo Sarkisian Archive are the recordings that Leo made or fostered over a thirty-year period. The Archive is one of the top four collections of African musical heritage in existence. Leo Sarkisian embraced the full spectrum of African musical practices. Leo’s recordings include not only traditional forms of music, but popular music (ranging from jazz bands to Afro-funk), as well as gospel and African-composed classical music (opera and symphonies). Leo, furthermore, carries the singular credit for being the first ethnomusicologist to train African sound engineers, making possible African-initiated music archiving; this training process was part of his role as US cultural ambassador to newly-independent African nations, to ensure that Africans could carry on the work of documenting and preserving their own musical heritage. The Sarkisian collection contains both Leo’s own field recordings and recordings made by sound engineers he trained across the continent. The Sarkisian collection is both an individual and collective achievement, begun by one person and then enriched by many people. The collection’s value lies, in part, in being a representation of African music that, while organized under one individual, preserves the experiences, skills, and choices of many. In 2012, the Library of Congress inducted Music Time in Africa into the National Registry of Recorded Sound, highlighting the show from 29 July 1973 on the music of Mauritania. The online version of Music Time in Africa provides a first-time listening experience beyond the African continent. The collection is one of the largest and most complete assemblies of radio broadcasts juxtaposed with readable and searchable program scripts.
Playable with proper equipment and Streaming over the internet
Digitization, metadata capture, and access system development for the Music Time in Africa broadcasts were supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. PW-234763-16