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1. Stop, pause, play and record...

Sam Boroda & Scott Holden Mixer at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Sam Boroda & Scott Holden Mixer at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Odin Bioscope Music Wall of Fame. Detail of Mike by Doug Batteson - Pretoria 2009
Odin Bioscope Music Wall of Fame. Detail of Mike by Doug Batteson - Pretoria 2009
The Shirrells - Felt Forum 1969 by David Marks
	Country Joe MacDonald at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
The Shirrells - Felt Forum 1969 by David Marks
Country Joe MacDonald at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Country Joe MacDonald at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Country Joe MacDonald at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Odin Bioscope Music Wall Detail of Ian Lawrence & David Marks by Doug Batteson - Pretoria 2009
Odin Bioscope Music Wall Detail of Ian Lawrence & David Marks by Doug Batteson - Pretoria 2009
	Jean Bosco Mwenda - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Jean Bosco Mwenda - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Joe Cocker from my tower at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Joe Cocker from my tower at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Odin Bioscope Music Wall of Fame. Detail of Colin Shamley by Doug Batteson - Pretoria 2009
Odin Bioscope Music Wall of Fame. Detail of Colin Shamley by Doug Batteson - Pretoria 2009
Phil Ike & Don Everly - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Phil Ike & Don Everly - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Joan Baez at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Joan Baez at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
This is The Hit Master Jack - David Marks & Gerald McGrath 1967
This is The Hit Master Jack - David Marks & Gerald McGrath 1967

Stop, pause, play and record...40 Year 3rd Ear Music retrospective for those who may not know.
A quote from David Marks’ the Hidden Years Story:

... The thing about 3rd Ear Music (and other independent indigenous progressive music producers) that South Africa should remember is that pre 1994 the record industry tried to shut you down, the government wanted to shut you up and the media shut you out!

By and large many (if not most) musicians didn't want to know, and the academics didn't care.
So what has changed? Nothing! The question we need to ask ourselves now is - why!?

Our aim now is to raise media awareness, if not funds, for SAMRO to restore, catalogue and make 3rd Ear’s Hidden Years Music Archive available for research, education and entertainment - before this little slice of hidden history decomposes altogether, like most of our recently re-invented music history. So what happened to the R4.6 Million NRF grant awarded to 3rd Ear for this very purpose?
...read more >>

Rewind - 3rd Ear Music basically started out as a community music project in 1965. It was a service, that founder Ben Segal began for Folk 'n Jazz and Singer Songwriters who were being ignored - for supposed political and / or economic reasons - by the mainstream media and record industry back in the early 60's. Ben was so intrigued and impressed with the indigenous music talent (contemporary, traditional and classical) that he was driven to record and document music events; mainly in and around Johannesburg. Ben was later joined in 1967 by music publisher Audrey Smith. David Marks - who started organising in Durban in 1967 and 1968 for the South African Folk Music Association (forming the Natal Folk Music Association - NAFMA) became 3rd Ear Music’s Managing Director on his return from the USA, in 1970; the position that he has held ever since.

On the 09.08.69 3rd Ear Music became a ‘legitimate’ (PTY) LTD company; not only was this a legal requirement, but it also helped to deflect suspicious prying politically motivated (left and right) eyes and ears away from 3rd Ear's core music function and passion, which was, and remains: preserve, protect, produce and present indigenous Southern African words and music that were being drowned out by the din and racket of imported pop product or politics.

As Evita Bezuidenhout observed; the future of South Africa is certain... it is just the past that is so unpredictable. So seriously then:

2. Preserve, Protect, Produce and Present

The Hidden Years Archive Library and Museum Dream

3rd Ear Music's collection, now known as the Hidden Years Music Archive Project (HYMAProject) was created between 1990 / 1994 - 45 years of audio and visual recorded (mainly live) music, events and material from concerts, clubs, festivals and meetings.

3rd Ear Music came pretty close to creating a Music Archive, Library and Museum when the National Research Foundation (NRF) agreed, in July 2004, to award a substantial and generous research grant. It was meant to be a 3 to 10 year research and archive project. So what happened?
...read more >>

The HYMAProject represents a tiny slice of SAfrica's (known?) hidden history - from city folk festivals, suburban clubs and coffee bars to township jazz jorl, as well as many revolting rock gatherings. It seems to be, believe this or not, one of the very few contemporary indigenous music collections in SAfrica that is somewhat still intact - if not catalogued and digitised.

Shifty Records and Lumko are reasonably well catalogued, if not entirely digitised… and the Tracey’s ILAM (International Library of African Music) at Rhodes University - although now catalogued and almost entirely digitised – covers very little contemporary music south of the Limpopo.

The impressive & glossy Gallo Music Archive and the in-depth if un-earthed SABC Archives, have very little, if any, in the way of words and music that may reflect social commentary or political issues of the times. As important and as technically superb as some of those recordings may be, sadly any proactive, politically or socially aware (involved) musician was prevented from being saved for posterity because so-called social commentary was not considered entertainment? Nothing much in SAfrican music has changed.

Another aim of the HYMAProject - as always - is to collaborate with whoever did record, whatever; to contribute, catalogue and digitise and then make it all available. In-so-far as the words and music that Ben Segal, David Marks and other 3rd Ear Music friends have helped collect and record, for over 4 decades, the HYMAProject is NOT only about the music or the politics (as so many PC would assume); it's more about the musicians and the people they worked and played with and for. It is, dare we say (for fear of dragging you through another mind-field of academic claptrap?) contextual!

In other words, without making excuses, it would be unrealistic to expect that all the HYMAProject productions and audio recordings - and those of other collectors and archivists - can or should compete with the multi-million raaant gloss, glitz and glamour of the so-called free-market, post 1994 system. Given the circumstances, conditions, equipment and economic realities of the times the Zeros, Ones and PC attitude of today - as entertaining as they may seem - are no substitute for soul. Archives cannot package or compete with the commercial pop market. And we do not need too.

3rd Ear Music has received some funding and support since 1994
...see the HYMAProject donors / investors listed >>

But, as we know Time has no manners. She's not going to open any doors, or leave the toilet seat up; and she will not wait for us SAfricans to get their historic act together. Point is - if South Africans can get the various HYMAProjects up and running, by presenting the music material that has been catalogued, how ever sparse or rough that may be, in a digitised format - other hidden history collections out there will follow. There are a number of private and public archives, not necessarily music, that will come on board.

3. SAMRO comes to 3rd Ear Music's HYMAProject corner

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has saved the HYMAProject from total defeat and extinction; at their own expense SAMRO has moved and stored the bulk of 3rd Ear's analogue reel and cassette tape collection (and other music material), into their Johannesburg offices. The objective now is to find an investor (or funds) for both 3rd Ear Music (PTY) Ltd and the HYMAProject. SAMRO's timely intervention and investment is thanks to the vision of CEO Mr. Nick Motsatse and SENA Director at SAMRO Mr. Andre Le Roux.
...visit SAMRO >>

Thank goodness, all may not be lost. Through the Durban Musician's Collective (DC) and other new-agers, David has been talking too, among others, the eThekweni Metro; mainly about the 'Music Archive / Library / Museum' proposals that have been on the table since 1992. That may still happen. There are a few new people driving this idea through the kZN Music Cluster; David has also made representations to the kZN Department of Economic Development and kZN Arts and Culture.

4. Equipment needed - Music Archive / Library / Museum - will it happen?

David Marks has kept the photos (negatives and prints) with him on the kZN (South Coast) - info and prints that he may need for colouring in his Hidden Years Story books. If it is not possible to get scanners, tape-decks and hard-drives then what David needs now is hands-on help. Anybody who can assist with the scanning, cataloguing and digitising? Contact thirdear@iafrica.com

3rd Ear Music does own some good software and digital gear that is used to scan, catalogue and index, while David puts the HY Story books to bed; this is extremely limited and not all is archival standard. In the meantime, Ma Nature is slowly eroding these bits 'n pieces of hidden history; the salt air down on the kZN South Coast is not doing these Hidden Years any favours; and as we all know the scanning and digitising process is a real-time consumer.

To recap: 3rd Ear Music needs equipment - a 1/4 inch pro-tape deck (7 1/2 and 15ips stereo); an archival standard scanner; a few old empty 2nd hand hard-drives. The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Graphic Design Department was good enough to assist with an A-3 scanner for 2006 / 2007 and a few hundred rare SAfrican album sleeves and labels were scanned.

Note to those who keep suggesting that David approach the many successful South African sound and electronic companies that he and 3rd Ear Music help establish - when they too struggled during those turbulent times through the 70’s and 80’s - to see if they may have any old odd bits 'n pieces of gear lying around that can be used and returned? Truth is he has made many appeals; he has not even had the courtesy of a phone call or an eMail. Especially sad, given that a few of the post-1994 sound companies are now multi-million raaant corporations. It is indeed a strange material world!

Thank goodness, all may not be lost. Through the Durban Musician's Collective (DC) and other new-agers, David has been talking too, among others, the eThekweni Metro; mainly about the 'Music Archive / Library / Museum' proposals that have been on the table since 1992. That may still happen. There are a few new people driving this idea through the kZN Music Cluster; David has also made representations to the kZN Department of Economic Development and kZN Arts and Culture.

5. Photo Agent for 3rd Ear Music in the USA

3rd Ear Music now has a Photo Agent in New York - Frank White Photography. It's a non-exclusive arrangement, to place 3rd Ear's Hidden Years photos in various news magazines, print and electronic, in the USA and Europe. This past month, David has posted 2 Hidden Years photo albums on Facebook - Woodstock August 1969 and Newport Folk Festival July 1969.

It would have been preferable to post South Africa's hidden history - as was the intention with the NRF grant - but, 5 years on and the world (inside and out) remains clueless about South Africa’s hidden history. David decided to post albums of better known US music events that he has worked on, in the hope of attracting international attention before presenting some of the remarkable SAfrican Hidden Years photo albums that have been hidden for all these years.

Other than the compliments from individuals - and of course SAMRO’s intervention – 3rd Ear Music and the HYMAProject are not attracting any local mainstream media or Archive and Heritage attention. David has had many of his photos appear in British, American and European books, magazines, biographies and journals, and has done 7 interviews in the past 2 months – mainly about Woodstock, but also about the Hidden Years and 3rd Ear Music. Not one in our own homeland?

Lastly

...read more >> - Where is the R1.6 million that the UkZN / DISA were paid to manage the HYMAProject? Where's the equipment that the HYMAProject bought and that was never used? Where are the students that they had? Where are the researchers whose grants were awarded? And what about those researchers who were not awarded a grant but who, when the UkZN / DISA announced HYMAP with such fanfare in 2004, had put time aside to start researching aspects of the collection in 2008 / 2009?

This was / is public money? So, we need to know.

Pete Seeger & Louis Killen - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks Tim Hardin from Mixer at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
Pete Seeger & Louis Killen - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks Tim Hardin from Mixer at Woodstock 1969 by David Marks
The Rockets in Zim - 7 ARTS 1973 by David Marks  John Renbourn and Danny Thompson (bass) - Newport Folk 1969 - David Marks
The Rockets in Zim - 7 ARTS 1973 by David Marks John Renbourn and Danny Thompson (bass) - Newport Folk 1969 - David Marks
David Carradine 9RIP) 3rd Ear Market Show 1977 Photo Tania Terre'Blanche Capt Allan Aunaper - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
David Carradine 9RIP) 3rd Ear Market Show 1977 Photo Tania Terre'Blanche Capt Allan Aunaper - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Hues Corporation, The Rockets & Taliep Petersen 1978 by David Marks Buddy Moss & Brownie McGee - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Hues Corporation, The Rockets & Taliep Petersen 1978 by David Marks Buddy Moss & Brownie McGee - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Count Wellington Judge & The Soweto All Stars Band 3rd Ear Wits 1971 by Tony Campbell Don McClean - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks
Count Wellington Judge & The Soweto All Stars Band 3rd Ear Wits 1971 by Tony Campbell Don McClean - Newport Folk Festival 1969 - David Marks

(p)© David Marks

3rd Ear Music Company est. 1969 (Pty)Ltd.

P.O.Box 50633
Musgrave 4062
Durban
KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa
email: thirdear@iafrica.com


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