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 April fool’s Day Deadline Headline

Fran Marks with oxidizing tape - David's HY 3rd Ear Office Mhlaba Buthelezi Checks out a rare 1940's 78 RPM Shellac Record
Fran Marks with oxidizing tape - David's HY 3rd Ear Office Mhlaba Buthelezi Checks out a rare 1940's 78 RPM Shellac Record

Juluka - Glenda Miller & Sipho Mchunu Bloemfontein Rock Festival 1983 – Photo DM
Brenda Fassie Group
Brenda Fassie Group Lion Lager Road Show Kings Park 1987 - Photo David Marks
3rd Ear Music’s Hidden Years Music Archive Project (HYMAProject) has been shut down, but not up! Seriously, on the 1st April 2008 the HYMAProject apparently did come to an end… well, to claim that the HYMAProject ended when in reality it has not started (isn’t there a song in there somewhere?) seems odd… but read on… Memorandum of Understanding.The oddest thing is that despite a ‘settlement agreement’ for 5 PILOT PROJECTS there has been no official notice, no budget, audit or report from the UkZN (University of kwaZuluNatal), DISA (Digital Innovation SA) or the NRF (National Research Foundation) to say that the HYMAProject is actually over… before it has begun. (OK – there’s the song we were thinking of…) 3rd Ear just happened to hear via a co-incidental eMail from the UkZN attorney that the NRF have decided not to continue funding HYMAP. And, after 3 years of no visible returns on their investment, who can blame them?

Looking for a Home

So saying - 3rd Ear Music may have to move again – so if anybody has space for this 40 year young HY collection (and / or equipment that we can use, in the meantime – an analogue 2-track reel-to-reel and a cassette & DAT tape deck with external Hard Drive Space of say, around 2 Terra Bytes would be good. We need to continue saving & digitising this oxidizing collection). Please don’t be shy to call… I am not shy to ask. 
The biggest prob… err… challenge, (let’s not be PiC here) in closing the HYMAProject down at this time, is that none of the researchers (who received grants) and the peer reviewers who were asked to endorse the R2.6 Million NRF budget in November 2004, seem to be aware that the past 3 years have been effectively wiped out.

Archive Master Tape Shelves
HYMAP Archive Master Tape Shelves April 2008
Archive Main Office Shelves
HYMAP Archive Main Office Shelves April 2008
1962 3rd Ear Music VW Kombi
3rd Ear's Hidden Years Paper Trail Archive Not Packed as Promised -1962 3rd Ear Music VW Kombi lies buried in the HY Archive
HYMAP Archive Main Office Shelves April 2008 April 2008
HYMAP Archive Main Office Shelves April 2008 April 2008 - Shelves April 2008 - Cleaned up & filed thanks to our new assistant, DAVID CRAMPTON
Master Cassette Shelves
Wayne Williams Training Students UkZN Student Sifiso Shezi
UkZN Wayne Williams Training Students for 3rd Ear's HYMAP 2006 HYMAP UkZN Student Sifiso Shezi - Photo David Marks
UkZN Student Sandile Ntanzi Student Bheki Ngcobo
HYMAP UkZN Student Sandile Ntanzi - Photo David Marks HYMAP Student Bheki Ngcobo - Photo David Marks
UkZN Students Wayne Williams Mandlazi Zondi, Bheki Ngcobo & Sandile Ntanzi
HYMAP UkZN Students Bheki Ngcobo, Smiley Msimang & Mandlazi Zondi HYMAP Wayne Williams Mandlazi Zondi, Bheki Ngcobo & Sandile Ntanzi
Student Smangeli Smiley Msimang Mhlaba Buthelezi & Wayne Williams
HYMAP UkZN Student Smangeli Smiley Msimang - Photo David Marks Mhlaba Buthelezi & Wayne Williams Start of the Dream
UkZN researcher Michelle Cecil Tyler from Texas with Prof Michael Green & David
HYMAP UkZN researcher Michelle Cecil - Photo David Marks HYMAP Tyler from Texas with Prof Michael Green & David - Fran Marks
DISA's Pat Liebetrau with Wayne Williams Garage Boxes unopened in 3 years
DISA's Pat Liebetrau with Wayne Williams - Photo David Marks HYMAP Garage Boxes unopened in 3 years - Photo David Marks
Market Theatre
Market Theatre 1 of 5 Pilot Programs Barry Shah & Cast from the Me Nobody Knows 1978 – Photo Ruphin Coudyzer
We'll Have to Fix it in the Mix
We'll Have to Fix it in the Mix - Cartoon Courtesy SCALLION
David & Lefifi Tladi
David & Lefifi Tladi from Garankuwa to Sweden and backtogether again recording 35 years later in eThekweni
Sunday Tribune
Sunday Tribune Announces the Hidden Years that never happened in 2005 - Peta Lee
Bill Hanley's Hula-Hoop Madison Square 1969
Bill Hanley's Hula-Hoop Madison Square 1969 Makes Hidden History – Photo David Marks
Jabulani Jazz in Soweto
Jabulani Jazz in Soweto from 1970 to 1980 remains Hidden History… for now – Photo DM
Free Peoples Concert 1974
Free Peoples Concert 1974 - Hanley 3rd Ear Sound - Ken E & David - Photo Frank Black
What’s Done Is Done?

The question now is - What will happen to the researchers who did get bursaries and grants and who have spent all this time preparing to access our HY Archive and will now have nothing to show after 3 years? Researchers visit 3rd Ear Music office and via Cyber-Space; now they want to know - where is the R1.6 Million admin fee that DISA was paid, by the NRF, to administer our HYMAProject? Musicians call suspiciously and demand to know where is the NRF’s HYMAProject equipment? We heard a rumour lately, that Dr Dale Peters (who was the HYMAProject manager for DISA - and who, it must be said started off, back in November 2004, with good intentions and HY hopes) has resigned and is now working in Germany… on another archive project, would you believe!?

The 5 PILOT PROJECTS Settlement Programmes  - Credit Where Credit is Due. What did we all get out of the NRF Millions & 3 Years?

As for 3rd Ear Music’s future, after 3 years of no income, Fran and I are, with respect, extremely grateful for small mercies. Thanks in part must go to a number of concerned HYMAP committee members and UkZN attorney Chris Schembri. It was they who eventually engineered a settlement offer that we could not afford to refuse, in exchange for the 5 Pilot Programs. Only a few reels of magnetic tape were saved & digitised with the NRF equipment (Fostex E-2 Tape Deck) - not an inch of the HY tape archive, not a photo or a poster, has been digitised by the UkZN or DISA staff with any of the budgeted and paid for NRF equipment. In the end the DISA settlement was almost enough to cover our HYMAProject debts. Now it only hurts when we laugh....

The 5 Pilot Projects submitted were

  1. Market Theatre 1976 – 1982 (Johannesburg)
  2. Hugh Masekela 1979 – 1982 (Live in Lesotho)
  3. Lefifi Victor Tladi 1970 – 2007 (Mamelodi to Sweden)
    Lefifi Tladi - Mamelodi Tanzania Sweden - 1976 2006
  4. Roger Lucey 1979 – 2000 (21 Years Down The Road)
  5. John Oakley-Smith 1972 – 1982 (Zimbabwe & South Africa)

Thankfully & eventually 3rd Ear Music was paid a monthly Archival Storage fee (Academic speak for rent - from our NRF grant) in October 2005 - 10 months after the HYMAProject was scheduled to start. And only then did the UkZN produce a collaboration agreement, signed and accepted in good faith and trust in the brain's trust of research experience, management and admin. For anyone who knows what it’s like not having an income for 10 months, and being told, don’t worry, it’s coming, let me not rub in the trauma and the tension salt water whine. The Archival Storage payments were rather sporadic payment procedures; a painful admin process followed by a reactionary management style that seems to be a disease in SAfrica; things only get done after much whining and moaning - Groucho Marks - gnashing and slashing eMails.

Apparently the HYMAProject Manager took these demands for income and so-called 'deliverables' rather personally and proceeded to make the next 2 years a polite academic misery for all those who were connected with our so-called Hidden History Treasure & Indigenous Knowledge…

Lest we (and others) forget - it was yours truly who was first offered the NRF funding and who proceeded to negotiate long before the UkZN were brought on board. It was only because I have some good friends up on the Hill - we've known each other and worked often together for over 25 years - so it was a natural bond. We trusted that the UkZN (and then belatedly, DISA) would deliver the goods, i.e. The Students, The Researchers, The Equipment, The Income, The Admin, The Management. Whoops!

Despite all this we are most grateful to the National Research Foundation (NRF) for sticking it out for as long as they did. (More hidden heroes lie buried beneath the truth of bureaucracy?) From the distance of hindsight we can now safely see that this Archival Storage amount (a generous R15, 000 pm) did nothing more than tie us down and obligate all concerned - HYMAP Committee, NRF and 3rd Ear Music. It made us stick around like some oily Velcro in the hopes that the UkZN and DISA would eventually get their Archive Act together and do what they were supposed to do.

The relief of this Archival Storage has allowed us to enjoy a marvellous 2 years here in laanie, dead quiet Glenwood - as paupers in paradise; especially after being held up in boxes in Berea Center for a year waiting for Dr. Peters' promises to come true. And then there's the added PPPP (Previously Privileged Pale People) pressure of the sharp guilt-edged factor. You want to save a bunch of WHAT!? Analogue, Magnetic, Reel, Tapes and Black & White Negatives? Are you serious Pale Face? Most of us liberated masses would never earn that sort of monthly income in a year... well..., not outside of the BEE whirlpool of Ray Bans and Beemers.

Let’s be Liberally honest here – There are far more pressing social projects in SAfrica that need State protection and tax-payers attention – for just a little small change. To whine and cry over saving a 40 year tape collection of musicians that no youth has ever heard of or events that the SABC and the elder academic denialists would rather history forget, is indeed embarrassing. (Even if most of what we collected was tone-deaf, colour blind and from the wrong side of the tracks). Guilt is still the Ghost of the Free. We are sorry SAfricans.

So in true SAfrican apologetic style I am just so sorry again; embarrassed really, that the NRF’s Intellectual Property Investment in this our HYMAProject was not properly protected and used by those who were paid to do so.

In Conclusion - for now: I recently suggested to one of the 6 (known) researchers who apparently did receive their grants some time ago, that they could do no worse than use the loot to find our (research?) why and how Dr Peters almost managed to do in 3 years (shut us down) what the SABC, the security establishment and the commercial record industry could not do in 40? And if no researcher wants to tackle such an interesting subject, then we will try - funds permitting - to get the NRF to conduct a forensic audit. One way or the other, people have to know what went wrong and on with our HYMAProject.

HYMAP UkZN DISA Legal letters Equipment Lists & Budgets (PDF 88kb) >>

HYMAP NRF MoU Appendix D - March 05 - March 08 (PDF 172kb) >>

And in the meanwhile another band of Music people pass on by:

If you have any comments about this article, please drop us a line.

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