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 3rd Ear Music / Hidden Years Music Archive (HYMAProject)

3rd Ear Music / Hidden Years Music Archive (HYMAProject)

3rd Ear Music / Hidden Years Music Archive (HYMAProject) have to move from SAMRO House, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, by November 22nd 2012. It’s some 7 tons and 45 odd years of recorded & collected ‘stuff' that has been stored (stashed?) up at SAMRO these past 4 years… waiting to be catalogued, indexed & digitized.
...for more detail >>

Basically – 3rd Ear Music, Musicians, myself & South Africa (if it’s at all interested) need to find a safe storage space (preferably inland), for this HY Music Archive Collection. If not, should / could we forget it & let SAMRO call the Sherriff & throw the ‘stuff’ into a Municipal Metro dumpster? Can we afford to label it, stick it ‘n lick it… put it away for another time, another generation? Why? Well, with our music history & heritage being re-invented almost daily now – and not wishing to sound too serious… I mean just how serious can saving an ageing archive of 60’s, 70’s & 80’s desk-mix recordings from SAfrican clubs, concerts, festivals, really be (now& then)? However daring & revolting we sometimes thought we were -creating, producing, presenting, performing this ‘stuff’ back then -just how important is this Hidden Years Music Archive Collection in the wider scheme of the NSA? In reality, is it worth the R250k plus (rental, storage & cartage) that we would need to pay SAMRO & other storage, to avoid the dumpster and the Sherriff? Then there’s the researchers, authors, followers, fans & families of musicians (decomposing & other) who trawl the website & pick my brains & pockets for IK. So many songs & questions, so little time!

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not giving up on the HYMAProject, 3rd Ear Music or my Hidden Years Story. I love to share ‘n care about the ‘stuff’ we collected – it’s what I do almost every day (digitize, splab, save, catalogue those Hidden Years). Although this so-called service does depend on what Master Jack turns over @ SAMRO, or what we earn / collect on Sundays at my Rock Bottom Hard-Hat gigs. Point is, if South Africans are interested where are ‘we’? Besides, I’ve got my own Hidden Years Story books to finish colouring in, and if I am to keep between the lines -before things become too shaky -that doesn’t leave me as much time as I may need. Age may well be a lucky number (and mine is almost 69), but with my luck I finish the books (signed to Penguin 12 yrs overdue) & the world ends! I got 3 months!

Also -I’ve been getting a little thin-lipped lately, working on everybody else’s hidden musical past when it’s the now that really matters. After a 30 year lunch break I really enjoy my Rock Bottom Pub gigs and I’d like to focus on more writing & then presenting new songs. As I say, I love sharing this HY stuff & many ‘foreign’ researchers / authors / documentary directors (some 24 in the past 4 years -only 2 SAfricans) have made good use of the Hidden Year’s & David Marks Connections - see John Kane’s PhD.
- ...The Last Seat in The House >> and the Woodstock Preservation Archives >> Woodstock ’69 @ 40. Maybe these ‘foreigners’ who do dig a little deeper than us SAfricans have bigger budgets? But, wait a minute… I don’t charge for this HY ‘stuff’…. I share it, for a credit and some postage!

Where are the Arts, Archive & Heritage Departments in all this? FYI we’ve had 18 years of yakking away -engaging as they say -at some 30 costly, windy Imbizos, Indabas, Talk Shops & Conferences, with various Tax-Funded Departments; and amongst other promissory things, discussions about the proposed National Music Archive, Library, Museum - MALM and STILL nothing happens. All Hat& No Cattle as Kinky said! We have truly become a nation of big Talk ‘n Windy Work-Shoppers; our MALM is not going to happen before the 21st of December 2012.

If one can ponder & plough thru’ what I’m trying to get at, would these HYMAProject, 3rd Ear Music, Shifty Records, (the missing) Mega Music, The ILAM, Des & Dawn, Lumko etc. collections (and there are others, in many countries) perhaps best be left to the next new World? It seems that if we cannot tap into the tax-payer’s lolly-pot, we’ll have to leave these collections for archaeologists to dig & anthropologists to unravel, rather than wait for musicologists & sociologists to fill-in their blank research-grant-forms? Maybe we’d hit pay dirt if we sent out glossy PR struggle-press-kits to compete in the murky Retro or Nostalgia Commercial mainstream markets? Join the weekend revolutionaries?

‘Scuse me… while I Kiss the Sky & wax cynical – the PC challenge, the bottom line, the level playing field ‘n all that – I sincerely believe, naively perhaps, that South Africa’s ‘collective’ hidden music history could eventually speak for itself. If those HY collections mentioned could somehow be neatly packaged, nicely & clearly labelled & reasonably presented, perhaps we’d eventually catch a smidgen of the ever-growing International Cultural Tourism Market. Not to mention the required ‘music text-books’ when, if, the Education Departments get their school act together -before the world ends. This may require some sort of a partnership with the current mainstream music media – SABC Radio in particular – and, sorry for mentioning this, but it would also mean excessive use of that dreaded 4letter word… work! The DJ’s (Desk Jockeys) may have to do a little extra R ’n D as well? Shudder!!

No but seriously… in terms of how Archives can deliver: it’s the now that matters, but it’s the past what counts!! (Evita, back in 1995 sighed: the future of South Africa is assured… it’s just the past that remains unpredictable) Sadly, SAfricans have been forced to forget what happened during those amazing, colourful if ridiculous & bizarre ‘hidden years’ -bludgeoned & abused by what’s going down under the mantle of ‘music’ in the pop-idol mainstream, on radio ‘n TV; but there’s no way that those HY will go away. Histories happen so why not try to shape & share the stories & the music & events that turned so many countless South Africans on in the 60’s 70s & 80’s whatever the post‘94 PC scribes & PR industry may say?


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