|So, we are pleased to announce that Look & Listen will now stock 3rd Ear Music & Hidden Years Music Archive CDR's & CDs - the classic collectors stock and the new releases will be in store country wide. And this 3rd Ear Music, for now anyway, is exclusive to Look & Listen. (Although you can still order On-Line through the 3rd Ear Website from One-World Cyber Store)
And if they haven't got it in-store - just order it & we will try & get the stock there within 24 hours.
Somehow this deal with Look & Listen seems to be poetically just - so to speak. We go back a long way with Look & Listener founder, Rob Ziegler. There's a little SAfrican history here.
OK, so it has taken 35 odd years for 3rd Ear Music to be formally invited into the General Record Store. Why? This is old news for those of you who don't know. (We can make excuses & we can make music - but we can't make both!) However, given the common knowledge state of the commercial music mainstream, at the best of times, 3rd Ear Music has had to be pretty cautious.
We didn't just want to dive in post 1994- and then sit with the headache of unsold stock. One toe at a time, we said - and then we'll take the plunge. (The playing fields are still not level; despite our new found & fought for freedoms. Choice is still very limited, narrow & shallow - no matter what the sweet things say. One has to dig really deep to find that there are indeed alternatives to the mainstream.)
The hundreds of thousands of people who supported the Free Peoples festivals, concerts and clubs since the 60's - and they're still coming to the odd 3rd Ear production in the new millennium - puts paid to the expensive idea that airplay is all that one needs to keep recorded music alive. Of course airplay helps. Each time a Hidden Years CD is played on national radio, we get am eMail or a call. Hopefully that (unwritten) broadcast embargo may be a funny thing of the (recent) past. There are now many Radio journalists & compilers who are starting to programme 3rd Ear Music. Thank you!
Most of our record music on CDR has been aimed @ live audiences, tourists and cyber space travelers; all agree, these CDRs are well-packaged and contain interesting information, music and musicians; many of whom the status-quo has tried so hard to ignore or forget. It's playback time.
3rd Ear Music - possibly one of the very first independent record labels in the world by the way, certainly in Africa - has been selling independently manufactured discs / LPs, since 1967. We moved into Albums and Cassettes in the 70's; now it's CDs & CDRs at gigs or on the street where we've lived, stayed & played.
The Play Live To Survive tune is still the thing! Despite this arrangement with L&L, we are not certain that the stores can outdo the point of sale 'n play that we've enjoyed for 30 years. Musicians move 10 to 20 CDRs - copyright cleared and paid for - at each show and the money goes straight into the back-sky; costs are covered & the artist eats.
A recent 3rd party Hidden Years record production - for a 70-something Busker / street musician - has sold over 3 000 units in 9 months. From the street! And this without a (so called) record contract, not a unit on a shelf or one minutes airtime? That's the sort of sale 'n plays income most SAfrican recording artists can only dream of in lifetime. Selling at R100 / CD with max cost of R25 / CD - copyright included? You do the sums.
Anyway, we do now need to get our recorded music out to more people; and this is where the interesting record-bar history comes in. It goes way-back beyond Rob Ziegler's Hillbrow Look & Listen - around the corner from Abe's NITEBEAT & before Warrant Officer Paul Erasmus was instructed to clear Lenny Beroldt's Hillbrow Record Library shelves of Roger Lucey's Rock filth. (See Foot Soldier For Apartheid >> - The reason too why none of the bars wanted our stock anyway?)
But before Johannesburg, 3rd Ear's fascination with the proverbial record bar, goes way back to the 78RPM Rock 'n Shellac Daze of the mid 50's; Mr. Berman's Bicycle Shop in Witbank; Lionel Lapidos Trading Store in Ermelo; The Berkenshore Family's Classical Pirate Record Bar - The Long Player - in Harrison Street in the 60's; Big Mac's Wop Bop A Lu Bop A Wop Boom Bang in Wanderers Street, near Park Station in the 70's', where the odd LP had to be wrapped in a brown paper bag for fear of the TEAL, EMI or Gallo Record reps rapping to the authorities about Pirates on the street. (We believe that the call which led to that ridiculous banning order on Roger's Road album came from the EMI factory in 1979. A R10 000 fine and 5 years in jail FOR POSSESSION? Come on! It's true I tell you! That'll put the mockers on anybody who doubted the potential power of SAfrican rock.)
And now at last, the revolting folk 'n rock rebels and Jazz ou's are beginning to get respect? It's never too late! Of course we still have a major problem with getting the airtime that we believe many 3rd Ear Musicians - old and current - deserve. No special favours or entitlement here. All we ask for is a level playing field. Let the people decide. (Despite certain new-age Airwave experts dropping the odd heavy name - if they can lower themselves to play & programme some of those 3rd Ear musicians, the music will speak for itself.)
Here's an idea whose time may have finally arrived! A Hidden History Music Radio & Road Show?
The HYMAProject are always been looking & listening around for sponsors / funders to help motivate, develop and produce an independent 60 minute Hidden History Music Radio & Road Show; a national weekly SAfrican recorded music programme that could be broadcast national and syndicated international, followed up with live appearances - that we will, as always, document & record. (Our friends in the Nordic countries and the Far East claim that such a regular exported radio show - on the wireless and over the Internet - will attract millions.)
A radio & road show will also help us get to the hidden history music material that is gathering dust 'n rust in many a private archive collection. We are slowly discovering some gems. There must be more out there somewhere. What happened to the music that the migrants took to Europe with them? Our solid-roots hidden music history goes a little deeper than the (unwritten mainstream music) law allows.
Maybe Look & Listen would be interested in getting involved with this Radio 'n Road idea? Besides the Hidden Years Story (Penguin Books) that we are busy with, there are only about 10 known books on SAfrican music - 6 of them written by uitlanders. 10 books in 350 years? That's ridiculous, but true. So there's still a lot of research & collecting work to be done.
Not being punny, but SAfrica does indeed have a very colourful Recorded Music History - and that, believe it or not, includes the Commercial Record Industry. We acknowledge the invaluable role that the commercial SA Record Industry has played in African Music - but it is not, as most post-1990 young SAfrican Music followers are led to believe, the only roots, traditions and histories that exist.
Exciting times; and once again thanks again to Look & Listen, perhaps a few more of the many hundreds of hidden history recording artists in our archive will now start getting heard above the din & racket of impressive imported product or boring radio plugged good looking commercial acts.
SAfrican music is better than it sounds
..& looks! Just Look & Listen!
Atterbury Value Mart
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David (Groucho Marks) - Hidden Years Perspective > firstname.lastname@example.org