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Nov 24 2021

Rethinking the Reissuing of Historical Music from the Global South: A Non-Western Perspective

Join us for an online conversation with Grammy-nominated Ostinato Records founder and producer Vik Sohonie, Hosted by third-year Ethnomusicology Ph.D. student Dexter Story.

In 2019, following several years of negotiations, Ostinato Records became the first foreign entity and record label to be granted access to the well-managed archives of the Radiodiffusion-Television de Djibouti. The national radio archives are a vault of secrets and stories from East Africa, Somalia, and Ethiopia, and they nearly accommodate the Red Sea nation’s entire musical output since its establishment in 1883. The outcome is Djibouti Archives, a series of three albums, each featuring a different band from the country, mainly produced from the digitization of these historic recordings. Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy Colloquium Series Fall 2021 guest speaker Vik Sohonie—Grammy-nominated producer and founder of Ostinato Records—compiles, provides the liner notes for, and curates acclaimed album releases while campaigning for infrastructure and resources for at-risk archives like these around the globe. Hosted by third-year Ethnomusicology Ph.D. student Dexter Story, whose research focuses on music from northeast Africa, the conversation will touch on Sohonie being granted access to the music he releases on his label, heritage property, practical considerations, intellectual property, and the process of digitizing and protecting collections in war-ravaged and/or marginalized countries.

Vik Sohonie is a producer, writer, activist, and the founder of Ostinato Records, a Grammy-nominated label focusing on music from Africa's past and sounds from the global south. Since 2016, Sohonie's New York-based imprint has released albums from Haiti and Cape Verde to Sudan and Somalia. In 2019, indie label Ostinato Records was given access to Djibouti's treasured national radio archive. Sohonie’s work focuses on decolonialized archives, and he believes the reverence Djiboutians foisted upon the national archive reflects the importance of gatekeeping one's own heritage, and something to be admired given that, for example, nearly 95 percent of Africa’s cultural wealth resides outside the continent. Born in India, Sohonie was raised in Southeast Asia and the US and spent extended periods of time in Europe and Africa. He is based in Bangkok and New York.

Part of the Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy Colloquium Series, this event is sponsored by The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Department of Ethnomusicology, with support from the Dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Register in advance for this event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.