Roxwel News

Radio Tanzania: Reviving the Forgotten Archives

by Unknown // Wednesday, January 25, 2012 // News, Upfront // 0 Comments

How would you feel if you discovered a historic collection of African music - forgotten by the world for decades? And what would you do if you learned it was in danger of being lost forever?

The Radio Tanzania Dar-es-Salaam archives contain over 100,000 hours of priceless Tanzanian music on damaged and deteriorating reel-to-reel tapes, and they need your help.

Radio Tanzania: Reviving the Forgotten Archives was created to raise awareness and support for our project to preserve, digitize and restore this collection and make it available to the world through mp3 downloads, a 'best of' compilation CD, and a documentary film. Check out the video below.

The project has two aims: to save and to share the Radio Tanzania archives. To save the archives, they will digitize the 100,000 hours of East African music recorded from the mid-1960s through the 1980s. This will include providing high-quality equipment for the transfer of the music and training Tanzanian employees/interns to perform the bulk of the digitization. The project leaders have spoken with a number of audio archival experts, budgeted costs, and put together a small team of people perfectly suited for the job.

To share the Radio Tanzania archives, a compilation 'Best Of" CD and a website will be released and launched, dedicated to the history and dissemination of the music, complete with background info, translations and photographs. A documentary film will also be produced, allowing viewers to get an inside look at the digitization project, the history of the archives, the evolution of Tanzanian music, and what makes this music significant for contemporary artists and listeners. The film will include interviews and performances by surviving musicians.

The Radio Tanzania archives contain priceless treasures of cultural heritage with tremendous academic, historic, anthropological and entertainment value, but their existence is in grave danger. The material at risk includes ethnographic recordings of ngoma drumming from dozens of Tanzania's tribes, Arabic taarab, energetic Afro-jazz dance music, political broadcasting used to garner support for independence movements across Africa, and more. Essentially, the archives are an audio-musical history of Tanzania's struggle for independence and its birth as a modern African nation. The digitization of this collection will be a tremendous good as an act of cultural perservation, and will benefit musicians, scholars, and music lovers alike. 

Since the launch of the campaign in December, Radio Tanzania has raised $11,054, with 157 people backing the project. They have exactly 9 DAYS left before the Kickstarter campaign ends on Feb. 4th to reach their goal of $13,000. They are SO close!

To be a part of this awesome project, visit the Kickstarter page, where you can pledge anywhere for just $1 to $1000 - the more you pledge, the more involved you can be with the project!

For more information about the archives, the team and the plan, check out Also, be sure to "Like" Radio Tanzania on Facebook and share the mission with your friends!

To hear a sample of some of the music, check out their Soundcloud:

Thank you for your support!!