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May 22 2024

Repatriations, Restudies, and Repercussions: The Bake / Jairazbhoy Digital Archive of South Asian Traditional Music and Arts

Holeya community women sing Kannada songs after hearing Arnold Bake's 1938 recordings. Bailhongal (India), 1984. Photo by Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy.
Room 1230 (Green Room)

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive in partnership with the UCLA Digital Library Program is thrilled to announce the launch of the Bake / Jairazbhoy Digital Archive of South Asian Traditional Music and Arts.

Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy (Founding Chair of the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology) and Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy visited 8 states in India, recording tribal, folk, devotional, and classical musics. Their research was designed to supplement Arnold Adriaan Bake's surveys of Indian music throughout the South Asian subcontinent (Bengal, (West Bengal and Bangladesh), Nepal, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Sindh (Pakistan)). These audiovisual recordings and still images, plus audio field recordings made by Bake in India on a Tefiphon (a machine that cuts grooves on loops of 35mm film), are now available online, open access.

Speakers (in alphabetical order):

Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy will give an audiovisual presentation concerning a methodology Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy and she devised in 1984 in Tamilnadu, Kerala, and Karnataka, to restudy and repatriate to Mother India audiovisual materials created as “a survey of religious songs and music” throughout South Asia in 1938-1939 by the Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Adriaan Bake (1899-1963).

Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy’s research, writing, teaching, curatorial activities, and multi-media publications often have an applied focus, aimed at community development of minority traditions, especially in diasporic settings. She served as curator and presented the first concert and lecture tour outside India with a group of African-Indian Sidi performers from Gujarat, in September 2002, traveling with them in England and Wales. Her recent publications include Sidi Sufis: African Indian Mystics of Gujarat (Apsara Media 2002: 79-minute CD), the volume co-edited with Indian Ocean historian Edward Alpers, Sidis and Scholars: Essays on African Indians (New Delhi: Rainbow Publications, 2003), the DVD The Sidi Malunga Project (2004), the DVD From Africa to India: Sidi Music in the Indian Ocean Diaspora (with Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy) (2003), and Music for a Goddess (with Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy) (2008), an interactive DVD of 175 minutes, including Bonus Tracks, on professional musicians dedicated to the Goddess Renuka-Yellamma in southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka.

Elizabeth McAulay will talk about the importance of bringing research and archival materials to students, creators, and researchers, and the power of connecting through the UCLA Digital Library Program.

Elizabeth (Lisa) McAulay directs the UCLA Library Digital Library Program, which makes rare and unique cultural heritage materials available online in searchable and browseable websites. These websites include the UCLA Library Digital Collections, the Modern Endangered Archives Program, the International Digital Ephemera Project, the Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Sound Recordings, and the Sinai Manuscripts Digital Library. She is a certified instructor with The Carpentries, a nonprofit organization that teaches foundational coding and data science skills to researchers worldwide.

Maureen Russell will introduce and moderate the event.

Maureen Russell is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles, specializing in audiovisual archiving, oral history, and information literacy and research skills. Russell is also the Archivist at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, one of the largest and oldest ethnographic audiovisual archives in North America. She has written two critically acclaimed books about television and film, Highlander: The Complete Watcher’s Guide (Warner Aspect) and Days of Our Lives: A Complete History of the Long-running Soap Opera (McFarland). Currently, she is the editor for Music Reference Services Quarterly’s “Off the Beaten Path” column and the editor for Ethnomusicology Review’s “From the Archives” column. Russell was the 2021 UCLA Librarian of the Year. In Fall 2022, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was awarded the Judith McCulloh Public Sector Award by the Society of Ethnomusicology. The purpose of the Award is “To recognize the valuable impact of many types of ethnomusicological work that benefits the broader public and typically engages organizations outside academic institutions.”

Martha Steele will present on the process of creating metadata for this multi-media ethnomusicology archive, with the goal of using description to facilitate discovery and bring communities to the collection, especially those of the creators, and interested students and scholars.

Since the completion of her graduate degree in Art History, Martha Steele has worked with art historical and image-based archival collections of research institutions including the Dumbarton Oaks Library and Archives, and the Getty Research Institute. She is currently the Metadata Creation Project Coordinator at the UCLA Library, where she leads projects to create descriptive metadata for digitized special collections materials.

Part of the Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy Colloquium Series, this event is co-sponsored by The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Department of Ethnomusicology, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, the UCLA Digital Library Program, the World Music Center at UCLA, and the UCLA Center for India and South Asia (CISA).


This is a hybrid in-person and Zoom lecture. For the in-person lecture, please register via the blue Eventbrite button below; for Zoom, please register here: REGISTER VIA ZOOM


Like most of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s programs, this event is FREE! Register in advance for this event via the link above. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.  Seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Early arrival is recommended. Registrants receive priority up until 15 minutes before the event.


Self-service parking is available at UCLA’s Parking Structure #2 for events in Schoenberg Music Building and the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center. Costs range from $1 for 20 minutes to $20 all day. Learn more about campus parking.


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is eager to provide a variety of accommodations and services for access and communications. If you would like to request accommodations, please do so 10 days in advance of the event by emailing ADA@schoolofmusic.ucla.edu or calling (310) 825-0174.


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Food and drink may not be carried into the theaters. Thank you!


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.