British Library Ethnographic Recordings for the Memory of the World Register

The Memory of the World Programme was launched by UNESCO in 1992 to ‘guard against collective amnesia by through the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination.‘ The Memory of the World Register covers all types of material and support, including stone, celluloid, parchment, audio recordings and more. Richard Ranft, Head of Sound and Vision with a team of colleagues, submitted a detailed proposal nominating the Library’s Historic Ethnographic Recordings to the International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Committee last year. The Historic Ethnographic Recordings collection contains many rare early recordings made by linguists and musicologists from around the world capturing the music and speech of different cultures. 

You can hear one of the recordings here. Another example of a recording on wax cylinder featuring an English Folk Dance is here