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 Funding Appeal 2004

Please consider:
The battle for funding to finish cataloguing and compiling the Hidden Years Archive and the Textbooks (that the Education Department will eventually need) has become a huge distraction for 3rd Ear. And although we have a catalogue with a few name acts that could do extremely well for us, the same diversions apply; text books and the Hidden Years Story are now priorities for 2004; we are just not geared to market, manufacture, distribute and pack the CDs.

What we need is a partner; the music will speak for itself – Hugh Masekela, Spirits Rejoice, Jeremy Taylor, Malombo, Stephan Grappelli, Rod McKuen, Mungo Jerry, Laurika Rauch etc. (See the legends list for completed masters and the archive catalogue)

However, aside from the obvious commercial potential, if this Archive collection – spanning some 40 years - is as important as some people claim (re: the references and testimonials from local and international Universities and artists - >> read the quote from Dr Ingrid Byerly of Duke University, USA) then perhaps we should try and form this Hidden Years Archive Trust; we’ve been talking about it for some time now.

Is there anybody out there who can help to make this happen?

With catalogued access, the Hidden Years Archive could survive as a reference library and eventually become self-sustainable.
In the meantime the rooms of tapes and music material need to be protected and saved.

The distracting fight for funds is taking us away from the hidden history mother-load. We spend far too much time having to justify what it is we have collected and recorded. And, too much time having to make ends meet by issuing and marketing CDs in the over-subscribed and exclusively commercial driven music media.

The re-discovery of South Africa's hidden history is important and we South Africans should be part of it. However, it so often seems to take foreign investors / arts donors to realise the value of our colourful contemporary roots and many of our unique age-old traditions.

As one Norwegian Funder exclaimed, no matter the content of the tapes, they are a real piece of South Africa's cultural history, and only those who have no interest or regard for the future of our cultural development would allow this resource to disappear.

The reality is, that there is nearly 40 years of alternative words and music here. This is part of our history, our roots and our traditions. If students and researchers do not have reference to this history, it will be lost.

We have an impressive list of artists and events recorded and stored in the Hidden Years Archive – Go To >http://www.3rdearmusic.com/reissue/legends.html#masters< And this list is only part of the unique collection.

What we need to do can be done in 2 phases – both of which were initially set up by our early funders, most notably The National Arts Council of South Africa, Terry Rosenberg, The Norwegian South Africa Education and Music Programme (MMINO) and the National Lotteries Board - Archive and Heritage division and a number of friends, who have helped:

Phase 1 - January to October 2004: Complete the HY Archive catalogue (tapes, photos, programmes and posters) - 1964 to 1974 and to re-register the many thousands of copyright titles that 3rd Ear Music holds, with SAMRO. This should take Fran and David and two assistants / students between 9 / 12 months.

David intends to complete part 1 of the Hidden Years Story book, for a final edit, in this time. (The Hidden Years Story was signed to Penguin Books in 2002 - due for release in late 2004.)

Phase 2 - November 2004 to December 2005: Digitise and compile CDs and Text from the next two decades, 1974 to 1994. This would include interviews with record industry characters – mainly from the 60’s and 70’s - and part 2 of the Hidden Years Story. (Part 3 is the proposed Penguin Book Photo Album - A Coffee Table Book).  

Budgets available on request.

Parallel to these phases a commercial outlet / record company, to market the more viable (popular) Hidden Years music-masters to an audience that is already out there, will be decided on. Not only will this marketing be aimed at South Africa but to the many millions of Africans in London, New York, Sydney etc. David has been negotiating with a number of record companies, both here and abroad and with the SABC; they are all interested in 3rd Ear Music's Hidden Years Archive catalogue and project.

There is an historic gold mine of words, music and events here - as entertaining and informative, as they could be commercially viable.

If we had to see this history as a commercial commodity - rather than a human right – we should not forget that when music education becomes part of the mainstream school curriculum in a few years time, that the Hidden Years stories and tapes would contribute some interesting, entertaining and informative content in print, on Radio, TV, Website, CD and DVD.

What we have in the Hidden Years Archive is essential textbook reading and learning material that millions of learners are going to need. Can we afford to delay this process any longer?

3rd Ear Music has been asked to consider assisting in the production of a regular Hidden History Radio and Road Show, and in a number of TV documentaries. We also get many enquiries to participate in and contribute to other Archives; The South African National Archives, Freedom Park, The Apartheid Museums, Robben Island Museum etc.

History Happens

The exploration of South Africa’s Intellectual Property has great potential for the rest of Africa. Rather than seen as exploitive, South Africa's influence on the African continent could be directly related to the free-flow of ideas, and the access to information in the global arena.

South Africa is winning the hearts and minds of the people up north and the trail blazing has got everything to do with popular culture rather than with high-flying political moves and motives. To ordinary folk, freedom is found in popular Music, Arts and Culture - the likes of Lucky Dube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Johnny Clegg etc.

We need to make sure not only that we preserve South Africa’s interesting and varied cultures, but understand the roots, heritage and traditions. We need to get our own act together before others can aspire to our good-fortunes, freedoms and dreams.

Why then, with all this talent and potential and unexplored Intellectual Property, is it so difficult for those in power to understand the importance and value of popular culture?
Music, words and dreams are the mother-load of 3rd Ear Music. A vast unique resource.

It is interesting to note, that an estimated 70% (some say more) of the USA's GDP is derived from the creative use of ideas; the sale and barter of Intellectual Property; films, books, computer programmes, theatre, music etc.

South Africa's Arts and Culture contribution to the intellectual property landscape is nowhere near its potential and influence and adds very little to our GDP.

Are we still stuck with what the Sunday Times referred to in 1995 as a Mining Man's Culture?
Take the gold out of the earth and then give it to others to add value.

Is this what we are doing with our Art, Craft and Culture?

So, in summary: David is trying to find creative ways of not having to get a proper day-job – at least until he can finish off the Hidden Years Story books - part 1 to 3 (so close and yet so far) - and get as many of these old oxidizing tapes into a digital format - the sooner the safer.

In the process 3rd Ear Music will continue to produce Archive CDs and the proposed radio programmes, compile the Text Books and complete The Hidden Years Story - and keep on collecting and archiving.

There is money out there for Archive and Heritage projects. We need to find a way of accessing some of it so that we can survive until the cavalry arrives - to set this hidden history of ours free.

...read also Mike Westcott's Trust / Section 21 suggestions >>

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

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