Ethnomusicology Archive 60th Anniversary


On 13 October 2021, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive celebrated the 60th anniversary of its official opening. We had hoped to hold a large-scale event to mark this momentous occasion, but the pandemic ensured that we had to substitute smaller-scale Zoom events throughout the year. Our large-scale event for this academic year, therefore, is now a rich panoply of testimonials, published below, from well over 100 current and former students, alumnae/i, researchers, musicians, collection donors, and specialists hailing from 20 countries, on the value of the Archive and its place in their research, creative work, teaching, career development, and worldview.[1]

Here we proudly present the many testimonials received in April 2022, but first, we’d like to take this opportunity to summarize the Archive’s achievements, contributions, and international standing, and to thank the thousands of current and former students, archivists, staff, faculty, community members, collection donors, and scholars and musicians from around the world who have helped make the Archive what it is today: the second-largest audiovisual ethnographic archive of music and related arts in the nation, behind only the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress in size, and an asset of international renown that draws researchers and musicians from all over the world and attracts top graduate applicants.


Today the Archive safeguards and aims to make accessible approximately 150,000 items—sound recordings, photographs, films, videos, field notes, and ephemera—from collections dating back to the 1920s. It welcomes visitors from the university, Los Angeles, and the rest of the world, and has for many years undertaken large-scale digitization projects to make as many of its unique materials accessible to the public as it legally and ethically can, and to re(m)/(p)atriate historical materials to the communities and families of origin.

A pedagogical resource unmatched in any other ethnomusicology program in the country, the Archive and archivists are deeply embedded in the teaching mission of the Department of Ethnomusicology: they welcome classes to the Archive for site visits; train graduate student researchers (GSRs) in collections processing and the ethics of archiving; and teach three popular courses: the annual audiovisual archiving class, a graduate seminar in oral history techniques, and an annual undergraduate course in bibliography and research methods.

Let us share outstanding recent Archive highlights:

  1. 2019 saw the reopening of the Archive after a $750,000 remodel to give us custom-designed facilities that provide a professional and inviting place to work, including almost 1000 sq ft of compact shelving in an extra room—many thanks to former administrators Dan Neuman and Judi Smith for such far-sighted decisions! Check out the story, here. The space we currently occupy—designed specifically for the technical, storage, teaching, research, and administrative needs of the Archive—will last us now for decades to come. The central position of the Archive in the music building, off an attractive courtyard, underlines the importance the university attaches to the performing arts of local Los Angeles communities and cultures from around the world. It is a formidable expression of the institution’s commitment to the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to engagement with our host city.
  2. Footfall in the Archive after the remodel and before the pandemic was over 3,000 a month, showing how much it is used by classes and researchers from inside and outside the university; post-covid, we expect to return to that.
  3. Since 2013 we have partnered with California Revealed, a project of the California State Library, so that almost all our California holdings that can ethically and legally be made open-access have been, or are in the queue to be added (please check the Archive's recordings on California Revealed, here).  (Also, check out the two articles from the UCLA Newsroom that highlight the Archive's partnership with California Revealed: March 2015 and February 2017.)
  4. 2019 saw publication of 51 of UCLA’s and 9 of UW Seattle’s ethically and legally publishable field collections in Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings (Adam Matthew Digital). This has been accessed thousands of times, with free access for originating communities throughout the world to their own materials, through locally feasible means. It saved the day for many of our classes during the pandemic, and provided a lifeline for students and scholars all over the country when they were suddenly cut off from in-person field and archival work in 2020. This massive project took five years from conception to completion, and won two major awards: it was named a Best Reference Database by Library Journal in 2019, and a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title for 2020. Check out the story of launch day. 
  5. The Archive’s partnership in 2020 with Filipina/o American arts collective Ube Arte resulted in the creation of the 410-page open-access online resource book Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California, already downloaded over 4,000 times, and now a mainstay of community groups and high schools and colleges with high Filipinx American enrolment.
  6. In acknowledge of her outstanding work on the Adam Matthew publication project and the Ube Arte resource book, archivist Maureen Russell was named UCLA Librarian of the Year for 2021. Here’s the story.
  7. Since October 2015, in partnership with the World Musical Instrument Collection and Ethnomusicology Publications of the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology, the Archive has organized almost sixty public events, from our current Senior Scholar Zoom lecture series, to a community grant writing workshop, to the massive 2017 Thai wai khruu ritual—the largest ever Thai music gathering in North America. For these events we have partnered with more than thirty on- and off-campus organizations, drawing in altogether thousands of participants.
  8.  The Archive’s Facebook page now has over 4,600 followers. Please join us if you haven’t already, and encourage your colleagues, students, and friends to do so, and help push us closer to the 5,000 mark!


Compact shelving at last! Graduate students Otto Stupartiz (left), John Jang (middle), and Tingting Tang (right) in the LP aisle, May 2022


 The newly renovated Archive welcomes guests to its splendid public space: Atlas Obscura Tour, May 2019

Preserving and making accessible historically valuable audio collections remain the lifeblood of what we do, and many donors continue to view us as a responsible and ethical repository for their precious materials. As a result, we continue to receive an average of four to six major donations a year. Of late, several remarkable collections have arrived from donors outside the university:

  • the Ube Arte collection of Filipinx American music (2019)
  • the life’s work of Bette Yarbrough Cox, renowned African American music educator and historian who worked to get African American music into the Los Angeles schools and documented the city’s Black musical heritage (2020)
  • almost 800 tapes documenting the career of kulintang great Danny Kalanduyan (2021)
  • two major Jewish collections: those of Joel Grey and the Malavsky family (2021)
  • the audiovisual documentation of taiko legend Rev. Tom Kurai (2022)

In addition, students and faculty continue to honor us by placing their unique field materials in our hands, confident that we will do everything possible to treat them with respect and make them part of the Archive’s ongoing, living heritage—the very antithesis of the image of a dusty mausoleum that even now some people associate with the word “archive.”


Finally, before sharing the more than 100 testimonials that have poured in over the last two weeks of April 2022, a shout-out to the Archive staff, and an urgent request to the administration not to cut what is already a bare-bones level of staffing for the nation’s second-largest such institution. Our full staffing has stood for many years at two full-time professional archivists and one 50%-time audio technician. Our most recent digitization and preservation archivist left in September 2021 to pursue an unbeatable opportunity in the private sector, and we are still (April 2022) waiting for authorization to search for her replacement. Consequently, the remaining archivist, Maureen Russell, has been doing double duty for the entire 2021–2022 academic year, working seven-day weeks. We urge the administration to act immediately to authorize this search. And our superb audio technician, David Martinelli, has just announced his retirement, effective at the end of June 2022. We have urged immediate replacement of this crucial post too, since without an audio technician, no in-house digitization will get done; no Department events will be preserved and made accessible; and faculty, student, and external requests for digitization will not be fulfilled. Much of the Archive’s renowned ability to provide service to the university, local, and international community will grind to a halt without the immediate replacement of these two posts.

Kudos to Maureen and David for keeping the show on the road during the pandemic and during long periods of short staffing, and to our most recent digitization/preservation archivists, Aaron Bittel and Yuri Shimoda, for all they did during their time with us.

Custom-designed laboratory for the Archive's audio technician


Legacy equipment, crucial to our digitization project



Our call for testimonials as to the value of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and its place in the research, teaching, creative activity, outreach, career development, and intellectual flowering of generations of students, scholars, musicians, collection donors, and information science professionals from around the world was met by a deluge of generous contributions in just two weeks, coming from 20 countries. So many, in fact, that they are divided into four sections:

  1. Alumnae/i, from the earliest to the most recent
  2. Current graduate students, in alphabetical order
  3. Scholars, musicians, and Ethnomusicology Archive supporters from around California and the rest of the United States, in alphabetical order
  4. Scholars, musicians, and Ethnomusicology Archive supporters from overseas, in alphabetical order

Please read, and please enjoy, the many stories that emerge from the 1950s to the present—stories of the Archive, for sure, but also of the people whose communities are represented in its holdings; of UCLA students who found a research topic, or a career, through the Archive; of musicians who have participated in events and research work; of re(m)/(p)atriations of materials; and of the formative impact the Archive has had on so many individuals over the decades.




The degrees awarded have borne different disciplinary descriptors at different times, but all, unless otherwise marked, have been in the ethnomusicology program.


Robert Garfias, M.A. 1958, Ph.D. 1964

Former Professor, University of Washington

Former Professor, University of California, Irvine

President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, 1985–1987

It is my great joy to have worked on the UCLA archive back in 1955 and 1957. Although the archive was formally established some years later, I did spend a good amount of my time during the late 1950’s collecting recordings and information for what we then called the archive. I am pleased to have been part of its early history.

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is in many ways unique. It is not just a library. By far the largest portion of material in the UCLA archive is original material not available anywhere else. Even back in the late 50’s I was able to collect rare important material from China, Vietnam and Burma, and in fact the Burmese material was so powerful and stimulating that I was inspired to go and study in Burma, even though it would not be until 1973 that I could do that.

 There is much material of immense and unique importance in the archive. All of the doctoral dissertations and many of the master’s theses are filed here. In particular the earliest ones represent original and unique research and contain information valuable to the discipline that is not available elsewhere. From the earliest days of the archive many important collections have been added to it. Because of the stature of the UCLA archive and its vital and continuous institutional support, I myself have deposited my entire collection of over 500 tapes, of music which I recorded in a number of different cultures. The archive provides a vital body of important information, most of it original material, for the discipline of ethnomusicology. The continued existence of the archive is important as a national institution and I urge for its secure support as we look to the future.


Bonnie C. Wade, Ph.D. with Distinction 1971

Professor Emerita, Department of Music, UC Berkeley

Dean of the College of Letters and Science, UC Berkeley, 1992–1998

President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, 1999–2001

Thank you so much for the update on accomplishments of the Ethnomusicology Archive. I am startled to think that the 60th anniversary has just passed! Your account makes me reminisce! From a modest but central element in life at the Institute for Ethnomusicology in the 1960s, it has become the second-largest Archive in our field in the United States and certainly one of the greatest treasures of the august University of California.

First I cannot resist reminiscing. When I returned to UCLA from my Ph.D. field research in India on a Fulbright grant in 1967–68, practically my first stop was the Archive, where Archivist Ann Briegleb (now Schursma) worked in tandem with audio specialist Michael Moore (who was also a highly sought-after free-lance recordist in the movie industry!). It was Michael’s job to receive, teach me how to catalogue, and copy my precious collection of 5” and 7” reel recordings of village women’s wedding songs and also live broadcasts from All India Radio of North India’s greatest singers of the classical concert genre khyal—the focus of my Ph.D. thesis. Michael Moore was an absolutely crucial member of the staff, on whom we all depended. Not too long after that, All India Radio made the regrettable but financially-driven decision to reuse their own Archives’ tapes to record ongoing live performances, thus destroying priceless documentation of the precious heritage of khyal from that time. Obviously, when recordings of an orally-transmitted, improvisatory type of performance genre such as khyal are erased, they are GONE! Those live broadcast recitals now exist only in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive! I know they have been studied there by South Asianists over the years. I immediately thought of that when I read your report that the Archive is now averaging four to six new donations a year of research collections. 

The contribution that UCLA is thereby making to the preservation of cultural heritages of our fellow humans across the earth is very gratifying for this alumna to consider. I find it ironic and satisfying that funding from Herb Alpert, whose fortune began to build from his work in the studio recording business—utterly dependent on staff whose expertise and skill with the latest audio technology was a basic necessity—is supporting the Ethnomusicology Archive’s digitalization/preservation processes that are so vital in making unique recordings accessible for not only UCLA students, but researchers from anywhere!

When I was hired as an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley in 1976 (the first ethnomusicologist and the first woman with appointment to a ladder-faculty position in Music here), I was asked by a welcoming administrator if I envisaged needing funding to establish an Archive of field recording collections to support my teaching of the new field in the curriculum. Had I answered “yes,” the funding would have been forthcoming, but—with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive flourishing and my being mindful of the desire in the UC system to avoid duplication of specialized resources when possible—I said “no.”  As far as I am aware that has been the case at each campus in the system, as curricula in literally all of the UC universities—including UCSF with its “medical ethnomusicologist” (certified by both MD and Ph.D. degrees!)—have been kept up to date by the introduction of courses taught by ethnomusicologists. Thus, the Ethnomusicology Archive there at UCLA is a very valuable resource for the system as a whole.

It is very gratifying to learn that AT LAST the space of the Archive was remodeled in 2018–19. It seems that generous support for the long-sought and deserved project was forthcoming from two administrators who understand the value of such an Archive in the work of an R-1 ranked university. A worthy expenditure of three-quarters of a million dollars in 2018–19, finally!  I appreciate most that a congenial and appropriate space is at last making greater integration of the use of the Archive’s holdings with classroom teaching! A footfall of over 3,000 per month before the pandemic is quite incredible. Since such use of the Archives is a priority for you and other faculty members, I have no doubt that normality will be restored as the post-pandemic era settles in. Oh, and by the way, congratulations on the collaborative project through Sage Publishing Company titled Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings; I had not heard that it was recognized by Library Journal as the winner of Best Reference Database 2019! 

One more point: Kudos to the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music that is situated by its Ethnomusicology Archive to respond to the call to develop integration of technological training in its curriculum. As it happens, I am writing this message just after reading an article published in the Fall 2021 issue of Ethnomusicology (p. 433) that reports the results of a study of ethnomusicology and higher education. As in other humanities disciplines, interest in public sector activity is increasing, and thus requirements for students in some leading institutions are increasingly incorporating technological training. At Berkeley we are receiving admissions applications from individuals who want just that at our Center for New Music and Audio Technology (CNMAT). There at UCLA, the member of the Ethnomusicology Archive staff who is responsible for digitalization and other technological processes is perfectly situated to offer such training to students in the School of Music, should increased funding for that position be made available. Hang onto that position! It’s a tangible asset these days!

All of this is to say congratulations again. May the next decades of the Ethnomusicology Archive be as fruitful for studies of music around the world as its first 60 years, and may its accomplishments contribute to the maintenance of the excellence of the University of California as a whole.


Ricardo D. Trimillos, Ph.D. 1972

Professor Emeritus in Ethnomusicology and Asian Studies

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

For me, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive not only belongs to the history and heritage of music at UCLA; more importantly it constitutes a locus for the conscience of this university and scholarly commitments writ large. As history the Archive preserves in material and meta forms “raw data” (primarily virtual sound and movement), resources bolstering UCLA’s reputation as a premier center for the study of cultural diversity and for the worldwide production of knowledge as well as—important in the present—bolstering an enviable record for financial leveraging. Now housed within the recently-endowed Herb Alpert School of Music, the Ethnomusicology Archive stewards irreplaceable historical data, including the Don Ellis collections on jazz (2000.01).  I find the Archive’s function as conscience to be critical. Unlike the natural sciences, in which efficacy assumes the replicability of findings, ethics are central to the Archive and its diachronic nature:  it offers the possibility to revisit and understand sonic and movement events in the light of new evidence, alternative epistemologies, shifts in ethical positionalities, and revised notions of the Other. For example, the Borcherdt recordings of Chilean music (Borcherdt 1966.01-.03), collected some seven decades ago, take on new meanings for current discourses of mestizaje and the emergent North American Latinx movement. Further, the Archive as conscience enables knowledges to withstand questionable and questioned scholarly gazes such as kulturkreislehre, National Socialism, putative objectivity, and cultural relativism, e.g. the Wachsmann collection of African musics (1949.01). The Archive through its senior archivist Maureen Russell has proactively engaged diasporic communities and their grass roots initiatives for reclaiming cultural heritage, e.g. the AFAMILIA collection (2003.05) for Filipino Americans.  The vitality of the Archive carries implications for UCLA’s international standing and for its responsibility to the resident community it inhabits. For any UCLA self-examination of mission and relevance, the Ethnomusicology Archive embodies investment in heritage, history, and conscience. I regard the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive as personally valuable from various of my own positionalities—as a retired ethnomusicologist with a long and productive career, as a citizen advocate for cultural diversity within the nation, as a culture worker for my own community, as a heritage scholar, as a minority academic of color, and as an alumnus of the UCLA Institute for Ethnomusicology.


Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Ph.D. 1978

Professor Emerita, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology

As one of the largest archives of its kind in the United States, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been immensely important in both preserving and serving as a resource for researchers examining music traditions that have been ignored or overlooked. It is an invaluable source for sound and video materials on most musical cultures of the world.

In the past few decades, the Archive has become an important resource for researchers desiring more information about the many ethnic and cultural groups in California. In addition to adding material to the collection through outreach and major grants awarded to the Archive, community members have also made donations to both preserve and make the information more accessible to the wider public.  

Because innovation and new ideas often arise from the analysis of materials that have yet to be examined, I encourage students studying world music to first investigate items in the Archive when beginning new projects. In turn, the search may spark new directions for their study that would not have arisen from simply relying on print sources.

When I began my research on fiddling in Africa as a graduate student in ethnomusicology at UCLA, the Archive was the only resource that provided the necessary materials to pursue my studies on this topic. Most likely my career as an ethnomusicologist would have proceeded quite differently had it not been for the sound recordings that had been collected, published, and donated by earlier investigators and were part of the Archive’s holdings.

Because the Archive played an integral role in establishing UCLA’s preeminence when the Institute of Ethnomusicology was founded in the 1960s, researchers around the world continue to regard the Archive both as an important resource and innovative leader in best practices for the preservation and dissemination of materials on local and world music traditions.


Daniel Sheehy, Ph.D. 1979

Director and Curator Emeritus, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Turning my thoughts to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archives fills me with memories of discovery, camaraderie, safeguarding, and building a future on a solid and extraordinary grounding in the past. It is a wellspring of people’s dreams come true in the form of recorded sound that nurtures student, scholar, and practitioner alike. I recall my visits to the archive starting as an undergraduate in 1966. I fit the description of “a kid in a candy store” to a tee, awed by the sounds, cultures, and people from an unfathomable array of expressions and insights to musicmaking’s cherished place in people’s lives. I saw the archivists themselves as gracious gatekeepers with whom I shared a mission, caring as much about the seekers as the safeguarding. Reflecting back over more than a half century of discovery through its collections, I may have discovered myself as much or more than I discovered others, as unfamiliar sounds, sights, and value systems challenged my own cultural assumptions and opened new windows of wonder. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive may be home to multidimensional chronicles of the past, but it is just as much a fount for fashioning the future—for scholar-seekers and culture-creators alike.


Don Niles, M.A. 1980 (Ph.D., University of Papua New Guinea, 2012)

Director, Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Vice President, International Council for Traditional Music

I am very happy to acknowledge and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. I was an MA student in ethnomusicology (1976–79), and Assistant Ethnomusicology Archivist (1977–78) and Acting Ethnomusicology Archivist (1978–79), the latter when Ann Briegleb (now, Ann Schuursma) undertook her doctoral research in Romania. Using and then working in the archive exposed me to past and present students, outside researchers, and the wonderful range of materials held in the archive, both commercial and field recordings, as well as relevant printed publications. This experience of working with a professional archivist, taking archival materials seriously, organising them, and interacting with users and communities was a great learning experience that resulted in my first job in Papua New Guinea: as an archivist, where I modelled many aspects of the Music Archive here on what I experienced at UCLA. That job later expanded into ethnomusicologist, and finally director. In short, my experience with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was key to my professional journey.


Nora Yeh, Ph.D. 1985

Head of Processing in the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (retired)

The Archive was established for the purpose of supporting the Ethnomusicology Institute with the Colin McPhee Collection, Jaap Kunst Collection, Chinese Music Collection, and other international collections donated by renowned scholars and former graduates, as well as commercial sound recordings. All materials, acquired under stringent policies, are unique treasures preserved for current and future researchers. Together with the American Folklife Center’s Archive in the Library of Congress and the Archives of Traditional Music at the Indiana University, Bloomington, they form the most comprehensive ethnomusicological holdings in the world.  

The Archive was among the first to implement online cataloging under a 3-year grant from NEH. There was emphasis on collecting rich Asian music traditions which enabled the early implementation of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Indonesian, Arabic and other Asian music courses at UCLA. The Archive and the Department of Ethnomusicology, with the world’s finest scholars and leading performers, embedded in the bi-musicality approach, provided opportunities for training in multiple music and dance groups using well-maintained instrument collections, becoming a leading institution for the discipline of ethnomusicology. As a result, several university ethnomusicology programs in the U.S. and other countries were either established by former graduates or modeled after the UCLA paradigm. 

Since day one of my study at UCLA in 1969, I have used the Archive’s collections extensively to prepare publications. I designed and moved the Archive from the basement of Schoenberg Hall to the current location; since then, it has gained unprecedented visibility and increased usage. My study in Ethnomusicology and work in the Archive and Library system resulted in my appointment as the Head of Processing in the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. Currently I am regularly providing consultation on all facets in archival preservation at national and international levels, as well as guiding young scholars on their preservation projects.  

The most significant contribution to the documenting of human history during the 20th century has been its sound preservation activities (e.g. wax cylinders, phonograph records, magnetic tapes etc.). Since the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive’s beginning in the early 1960s, its acquisitions of ethnographic collections, especially both unpublished and published sound recordings, have made an unquestioned contribution to the development of documentation of musical cultures of the world.   

Because of its geographical location in the center of the cultural world powerhouse that is Southern California, and as part of the prestigious UC system, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has regularly served as repository and the first go-to research institution for local residents. Such celebrities like the composer, songwriter and record producer Burt Bacharach have used the Archive’s materials. The Archive can play a much more important role and maximize its service potential at a local level. Unfortunately, due to a lack of staffing, space, and limited budget as well as absence of foresight/understanding/interest among the administration, its recent growth has been greatly hampered.

The Archive has early sound recordings of numerous marginalized peoples. They are priceless treasures, especially when some originals either no longer exist, are beyond salvage, or unavailable due to political uncertainty.    

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive signifies a legacy unmatched elsewhere. It would not be an exaggeration to advocate an effort toward having the Archive’s collections nominated to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.


Paul Humphreys, Ph.D. 1988

Distinguished Clinical Professor, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles

During my years of study at UCLA, the sense of the Archive as both a scholarly resource and nexus for a world-wide community of scholars grew stronger by increments over time. It was my good fortune to work as a research assistant under the direction of Ann Briegleb Schuursma when Willard Rhodes donated his collection to the Archive. The area of my concentration suggested a role for me in the accession process as well as in the continuing work (begun by Mark Forry) to compile a discography of commercially recorded North American Indian music.  That discography was early among the Archive holdings to be transitioned from card to digital catalog. Through NEH funding secured through Ann’s visionary effort, the Archive was a leader within the UCLA Library system in the transition to digital cataloging.

During my years as a post-doctoral scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnomusicology and Systematic Musicology (ESM), Archive holdings were the mainstay of my effort, mentored by Tim Rice, to develop and teach a three-semester course sequence, “World Music Theory and Musicianship.” In the years since, ongoing access to written and media resources of the Archive have informed and enlivened my teaching in the music departments of Loyola Marymount University (1997–present) and CSU, Northridge (1990–1997) as well as my scholarship and creative work. To cite an example of the latter, during my collaboration with a colleague in Theatre at LMU to present an adaptation of the Japanese Nō play Matsukaze, the Archive’s Moriguchi Collection made it possible to consult the diagrams and stage directions that appear in the originally published part-book. More recently, and at my request, Archivist Maureen Russell was successful in locating a photo of Gertrude Rivers Robinson to appear in the announcement of a scholarship fund for World Music at LMU that honors Gertrude by name. 

In addition to its essential role as a study center and major repository of rare and in many cases unique collections, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has a long history of serving as a hub and welcoming point for scholarly gatherings. The two-day symposium in January 2019, “Documenting the Sounds of Africa,” is only the most recent (non-virtual) instance of this role, honoring Professor Emerita Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Archive Director from 2000 to 2007.  The Archive inevitably serves as center of gravity for UCLA-hosted meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Southern California and Hawai’i Chapter, as well, most recently in 2016. Nor do scheduled meetings tell the full tale. Serendipitous meetings within its walls are invariably delightful, often illuminating, and potentially life-changing. It is a source of abiding gratitude for me that over a period of some four decades, my own experience attests to all three.


David D. Harnish, Ph.D. 1991

Emeritus Chair and Professor, University of San Diego

Retired Dean and Professor, Bowling Green State University, Ohio

The Ethnomusicology Archive at UCLA is a gem. The holdings are vast, diverse, and crucially important for both research and preservation. The Archive is one of the reasons why I chose to attend UCLA to pursue my doctoral degree; I knew I could find early materials on Indonesian music and culture deposited by some of the leading figures in the field. I relied on some research in the Archive—particularly the Colin McPhee collection (housed only at UCLA) but also a variety of other sources—for several of my presentations and publications.

As research assistant to Dr. Sue Carole DeVale, I had two projects connected to the Archive. For one of those, I combed through the extensive collection of Klaus Wachsmann’s materials in the Archive and transcribed his field notes (ca. 19 years’ worth of notes in Uganda) for Dr. DeVale’s publications and presentations. I believe that UCLA was the only institution that housed those crucial field notes.

In short, the Archive has been important to my scholarship and standing in the field, for Dr. DeVale’s career, and for countless others. It remains unique to UCLA and should be both preserved and expanded as a current and future resource for students and scholars.


Anne K. Rasmussen, Ph.D. 1991

Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology

William M. and Annie B. Bickers Professor of Middle Eastern Studies

The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, 2015–2017

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was my real introduction to the field. As a 25-year-old Ph.D. student who had never before lived in California, the experience of UCLA’s ethno program, with its many wonderful professors, myriad musical ensembles, and endless campus resources, was overwhelming for me. I was truly in La La Land! But my graduate assistant-ship had me working in the ethno archive, where then director Louise Spear and a small army of seasoned grad students brought me firmly and gently into a world that has never let me go. Who knew, when they showed me the Jaap Kunst Collection, that I would become a specialist in the Islamic performance of Indonesia? How could I have known as I xeroxed the liner notes of the UNESCO box sets of LPs of world music, that I would later write about Intangible Cultural Heritage? And how could I have predicted that I would become a fierce advocate of archives, taking my own students regularly to the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress during my semester and seminar curriculum; and of Washington (DC) and the Arts. All of these milestones of my own career have roots in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. As it stewards the collections of our ancestors, our professors, our peers, and our students, and sustains through that stewardship the music of the world’s peoples, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is an exemplar in its purpose and reach, serving as a model for institutions large and small in North America and beyond.   


Yoshiko Okazaki, Ph.D. 1994

Retired Professor, University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, Japan

I was proud to be able to contribute in a small way to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive during my student days. Someone in San Francisco, probably, found a box full of old noh play transcriptions. One of the archivists, who had got a grant to work on them, asked me to look at them and provide some explanation and classification, if possible. The language used in the noh play materials is not modern Japanese, so it was very hard to make out. But by looking at illustrations and doing some research, I completed the work. There were many such good opportunities for both the Archive and students from many cultures to participate in this kind of work, building the collection together.


Wanda Bryant, Ph.D. 1995

Retired in 2012 from Pasadena City College and California Institute of the Arts

I entered UCLA’s graduate program in 1986. At that point, the Ethno Archive was the hub of the department. Have a question? Go ask Sandy or Mark in the Archive; they’ll know. Looking for someone? Try the Archive. For a first-year grad, this was an invaluable social connection. But then I learned that the Archive held a truly astonishing collection of sound recordings that led me to intriguing lines of study and gave me the broad musical awareness that I needed to pursue my studies and carve out my career. I was lucky enough to be a grad assistant in the Archive, learning the ropes from Maureen Russell, now our department’s esteemed “institutional memory” and the 2021 UCLA Librarian of the Year (long overdue, in my opinion). For more than 30 years, Maureen has steadfastly shepherded the Archive, its collections, its technology, its physical space, its public face, and its graduate students from a grungy, crowded, run-down, but friendly space to a 21st-century state-of-the-art facility. Through the Adam Matthew project, she truly guided the Archive to a spectacular, internationally-available educational resource. She was my “pathfinder” through the maze that was the early internet; with her help, my dissertation (now part of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive collection) was the first in our field to utilize the Internet as a research site. The Ethnomusicology Archive and Maureen Russell: two unique treasures that UCLA should continue to proudly promote and support.


John Vallier, MA 2000 (MLIS, UCLA, 2003)

Curator and Affiliate Faculty in Ethnomusicology at University of Washington, Seattle

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive gave me my start in the world of archives. Without it, and the support of wonderful colleagues and mentors, it’s unlikely I would be working for the past two decades in the world of ethnomusicology and its archives. To Louise Spear, Jackie DjeDje, Helen Rees, Tony Seeger, Tim Rice, Maureen Russell, Eleanor Lipat, and Birgitta Johnson, thank you for your support on and collegiality on so many wonderful Archive projects, including AFAMILA, GALA, the Ethnomusicology Archiving course, and GRAMMY-funded grants. And to the many collectors and community members I worked with while archivist in the Archive, thank you for taking a chance on the Archive. I hope we have lived—and can continue to live--up to your expectations.


Christi-Anne Castro, Ph.D. 2001

Associate Professor of Musicology, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, School of Music, Theatre and Dance, University of Michigan

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is a place of belonging. As a Filipina American going to graduate school, the space itself was a place of refuge and research — somewhere you could count on to find classmates and faculty to converse with and an archivist to help you find resources. The best conversations there always started with, “What are you here looking for?”

The archive is also a repository that gave me a sense of belonging in the program. As someone who does research on the music of the Philippines, I was able to utilize sources from the archive’s Jose Maceda collection. In addition, the AFAMILA project is housed there, documenting Filipino American history in Los Angeles through the practice of expressive arts. 

Currently, I am at a different large public university that happens to have one of the finest collections related to the Philippines. Despite that, there is no single place to go to have access to those materials (along with the mountain of written works and recordings that can be found at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive). Not only is the UCLA archive unique, then, it is something that people at other universities envy.


Guangming Li, Ph.D. 2001

Independent scholar and professional musician

Asked what I think about the Ethnomusicology Archive, the phrase that occurred to me is “Supermarket of Information and Material of World Music Cultures.” It has information and materials that are hard to access or unavailable anywhere else, despite their importance for advanced research. The archivists are among the best people I have met in my academic life. They are dedicated, responsive, friendly, enthusiastic, and give the help anyone needs in a timely manner, while they are intellectuals of the highest caliber. I am grateful for their help and privileged to know them as colleague-friends.

Time changes and should change the UCLA music programs at UCLA; however, our understanding of music cultures’ diversity and exploration of the common humanity in music will continue. The ethnomusicology program has been a notable contributor to the reputation of UCLA in the past 60 years. As the Department of Ethnomusicology will be an essential component of the UCLA School of Music and one of its distinctive features, the significance of the Ethnomusicology Archive for UCLA as a well-established facility of world music culture material and information is explicit.


Robert F. Reigle, Ph.D. 2001

Former Associate Professor, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

When I wrote a description of the Archive’s Oceania holdings for the Garland Encyclopedia, I realized the great importance they hold among the world’s scarce repositories. The Archive plays an invaluable role on the global stage, in preventing the erasure of musics that are typically marginalized or omitted from tertiary curricula. I had the joy of working for the Archive while a doctoral student, alongside archivists Louise Spear and Maureen Russell, who inspired me with their passion for ethnomusicology. In the days before many collections were available online, it was thrilling to be able to read the liner notes of a decades-old LP, or load a reel-to-reel tape of an unpublished recording that had only been heard by a handful of listeners. Music luminaries passed through on a daily basis, affording the opportunity to attach a living being to a revered icon. Since then, the Archive has made enormous collections accessible to researchers online, including its unique California recordings (through California Revealed), and Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings. I am especially grateful for the latter (fervently encouraged by Maureen), for providing a platform to make available my own recordings from Papua New Guinea, a country where the musics of some 300 of its linguistic groups remain undocumented.  I give my profound gratitude to everyone who made and makes the Archive possible, congratulate you on this 60th Anniversary, and look forward to your future activities!


Nicholas Bergh, M.A. 2002

Founder, Endpoint Audio Labs, Burbank

I have fond memories of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive as the center of both social gatherings and research in the Department. Louise Spear was archivist at the time and was always willing to help with questions and research well beyond the specific holdings of the archive. Especially with my interest in recording history and sound preservation, the archive was an important link to other ethnomusicology archives and sound collections across the globe. Now that I run my own company in Burbank specializing in cutting-edge audio restoration for historical recordings, I still work with the Archive, assisting them in considering the latest techniques for preserving their historically significant collections. Best wishes for another 60 years!


Gina Fatone, Ph.D. 2002

Associate Professor of Music, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine

Many congratulations to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive on its 60th (official) anniversary! With its holdings of so many historically important documents and field recordings (as well as current deposits), the Ethno Archive is one of the ways that UCLA distinguishes itself, and it richly deserves to be celebrated as such! Additionally, as an institutional center of activity in the early days of ethnomusicology, the Archive serves as a symbolic hub—a meaningful marker of disciplinary identity—for so many. 

Of current critical importance is the digitization of the Archive’s holdings, allowing for the sharing of its unique and important resources. I hope this project receives all of the support it deserves!


Ray Briggs, Ph.D. 2003

Assistant Director of Jazz Studies and Associate Professor of Music, California State University, Long Beach 

I am currently an Associate Professor of Music & Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at California State University, Long Beach. However, from 1995 until 1999 I was a graduate student in Ethnomusicology at UCLA, where I received both an M.A. & Ph.D. Of the numerous foundational experiences that continue to inform and shape my professional career, my time spent in the Ethnomusicology Archive is paramount. My connection to the facility and staff is two-fold: first, much of my course-related research was done there; and second, I worked for three years as a student assistant. From these perspectives collectively, I can unequivocally see the significance of the Archive. In the seminar focused on fieldwork techniques, visiting the Archive was central to our understanding of the total process and what the end result might yield. Moreover, beyond a mere theoretical projection of how the field of ethnomusicology has been buttressed by archival institutions, students of the UCLA program then and now are able to learn this firsthand and benefit from frequent engagement with the collections and archivists, Maureen Russell and (in my day) Louise Spear. Working in the archive, it wasn’t uncommon to serve students and faculty in other departments of what is now the School of Music and beyond, such as those in World Arts & Cultures, Anthropology, and various ethnic studies programs. A most lasting impression is the international magnitude of the Archive, as I often assisted scholars from all over the world. The experiential knowledge I gained as a student and student assistant in the Archive continue to inform my academic work. For example, when teaching on ethical issues regarding how recorded materials should or should not be made accessible, I can cite real-life examples of how specific cultural mores may conflict with the Western assumption that all information should be accessible to academic inquiry. In closing, the legendary stature of the Ethnomusicology program at UCLA is, in part, rooted in the historical presence of the Ethnomusicology Archive, a most distinguishing feature. For this and the reasons stated above, I support every effort to keep this institution alive and well.


Bernard Ellorin, B.A. 2003 (Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from University of Hawai’i)

Adjunct faculty, Miramar and Miracosta College, San Diego County

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is an accessible resource for all students and scholars to conduct research on any genre of music. During my years as an undergraduate at UCLA, I was enthralled by the amount of scholarly material that sparked my initial interest in Philippine ethnomusicology. Finding dissertations and manuscripts from pioneering scholars gave me possibilities to become a future academic. Now as a contributor to the archive, I have had the privilege of working with Maureen Russell in archiving Filipino American performing arts, which led to the publication of Our Culture Resounds; Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California. In sum, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is a vessel for all to appreciate and value.


Juniper Hill, Ph.D. 2005

Professor and Chair of Ethnomusicology, University of Würzburg, Germany

Archives that preserve and make accessible large collections of ethnographic recordings of traditional and vernacular musics from around the world are exceedingly rare and incredibly valuable. Indeed, they are essential for researchers, students, practicing professionals, and communities. One might think that nowadays with the unprecedented ease and affordability of grassroots recording and platforms like YouTube to disseminate it, archives are less important 

today. Not so. Such recordings, though convenient for overworked lecturers and lazy students, lack contextualization, lack rigorous scholarly documentation, and most crucially they lack durability. They are often fleeting, up one month and down the next. Furthermore, in my 
extensive ethnographic field research on creative transformations of traditional musics in Ecuador, Finland, and South Africa, I observed how the music performed in intimate local settings is often very different from that recorded for national or global distribution; the 
latter is typically modified to in attempts to sound more popular and cater to broader audiences. Thus, both the most traditional and the most creative music often exists only in the moment of live performance and then is lost forever—unless someone is there to document it and unless this documentation is preserved in an archive. This is why I deposited my field recording collections from Ecuador and Finland in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. I also appreciate that the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive makes free high-quality copies of these collections to be gifted to local or regional archives within the communities where the recordings were made, ensuring that valuable intangible heritage is not just collected but made available where it counts.


Eleanor Lipat-Chesler, M.A. 2005

Co-Founder, Ube Arte and Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble

In 2003 I was a UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) and Project Director of Archiving Filipino American Music in LA (AFAMILA), a community outreach project funded by UCLA in LA. With Archivist John Vallier, our team recorded over 200 hours of Filipino American expressive culture. That experience gave me the professional connections and the momentum to co-found Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble and later Ube Arte, a community-focused performing arts education and research collective formed with four other UCLA alumni in 2016. Archivist Maureen Russell has continued to partner with Ube Arte in new and creative ways. In 2019 she invited us to help launch their Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings publication with Adam Matthew Digital. In 2019 we worked together to solicit archival donations from individuals (myself included) and organizations for the Ube Arte Collection—125 physical items and 785 digital audiovisual files that are now accessible to the public through the California Revealed website. Another grant in 2020 allowed us to co-create Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California, a free PDF cultural resource book and guide to archival collections. As of April 2022, the book has been downloaded by over 4,000 readers. Lastly, the archive’s 2021 Danongan Kalanduyan Collection (Kalanduyan was the “father” of kulintang music in America) brings us both knowledge and comfort as we are still reeling from his passing. The archive staff and GSRs put tremendous effort into procuring, processing, digitizing, and publicizing materials that are meaningful to our heritage community. They curate and preserve items of great intellectual and historical significance, and set the bar incredibly high for culturally sensitive community collaboration. 


Guilnard Moufarrej, Ph.D. 2005

Associate Professor, Languages and Cultures Department, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the continuous growth and improvement of the archive and for all the work that has been accomplished in order to make the UCLA archive the second-largest AV archive of traditional music in the US.

As a graduate student in Ethnomusicology in the early 2000s, I immensely benefited from the opportunity of getting access to unique field collections, which helped introduce me to many world music traditions and shaped my understanding of many cultures. Furthermore, my early exposure to the processes of digitization and cataloguing at the archive enabled me to assist with similar work at the archive of the University of the Holy Spirit in Lebanon during my dissertation fieldwork in 2002–2003.

During my visit, in April 2019, to the newly renovated archive, I was amazed by the work that was accomplished, which has helped improve the preservation process of the acquired recordings and provide easier access to the archive material. In such difficult times that the world is experiencing, where many cultures are being targeted and risk of becoming endangered, continuous financial support for the UCLA archive is of utmost importance in order to ensure its sustainability and to enable the acquisition and preservation of collections of field recordings that may otherwise deteriorate or get lost.


Mary Talusan Lacanlale, Ph.D. 2005

Assistant Professor of Asian Pacific Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been a crucial part of my development as a researcher and ethnomusicologist. As a graduate student of ethnomusicology in the early 2000s, I often visited the archive to look for resources on music of the Philippines. The archive was the only place that provided me with access to Dr. Jose Maceda’s primary materials collected before 1950 on the Maguindanao, a Muslim minority group from the southern Philippines. Maceda is the first Filipino ethnomusicologist and founder of the Center for Ethnomusicology at University of the Philippines. Without access to these materials before conducting my dissertation fieldwork, I would not have been able to understand how Maguindanaon music changed over the last 50 years and accurately conduct my dissertation research on new directions in their musical traditions. After I graduated and became an assistant professor, the Ethnomusicology Archive continued to be a place through which I pursued new scholarly work on Filipino music. In 2020, my colleague Eleanor Lipat-Chesler and I collaborated with archivist Maureen Russell to apply for a California Revealed grant to document Filipino American music and performances in California. This was especially beneficial because although Filipino Americans are the third largest Asian heritage group in the country and one of the largest in California, little has been documented about their cultural activities and participation in American society for over a hundred years. We produced a unique ebook called Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California that is being used in high school and college classrooms and by community organizations. Through this California Library initiative, we donated over 700 audiovisual materials, which are linked to the book’s essays. The Ethnomusicology Archive not only preserves materials but also makes them available to a community that has long been neglected in archives. Recently, I was able to help facilitate the donation of late kulintang master Danongan Kalanduyan’s invaluable field recordings that will preserve and promote a Philippine tradition that has taken root in the United States.


Aaron M. Bittel, M.A. 2006

Director, World Music Archives & Music Librarian, Wesleyan University

So far, the Ethnomusicology Archive has left its mark on my career in at least three ways. First, in my grad student years when I started considering a professional turn toward archival and library work: career chats with archivist John Vallier, and then his and Tony Seeger’s seminar ”Audiovisual Archiving in the 21st Century,” confirmed that this was my path, and set me on my way. Two years later, as I was finishing the Library and Information Science degree for which I had set off, I had the incredible good luck (and timing!) to be invited back to try to fill John’s shoes as Archivist. This meant that from my first week on the job I was co-teaching the seminar in which, last time it was offered, I had been a student! Fortunately I was teaching alongside Tony, and his mentorship as Archive Director through my first several years both rooted me firmly in the field and introduced me to the broader international archiving community. Later on it was the fearless leadership of Helen Rees that gave the Archive staff the inspiration to push through some of our most transformative accomplishments, including: expanding our teaching, outreach, and repatriation missions; getting a huge portion of the collections online; and completing a long-overdue reimagining of our spaces. I learned so much from these experiences—sometimes the hard way!—and after nearly 11 years of cutting my teeth as a professional, I went on to the third phase of my relationship with the Archive. Now at a peer institution, albeit a very different one, on the other side of the country, we all look to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive as a model. It’s not just the incredible collections, the track record of collaborating with musicians & communities, the active outreach programs, and the international presence, though. Most of all, it’s the people . . . It’s always the people, isn’t it? That’s by far the most important professional lesson the Archive has taught me, and it’s a lesson I learned from all the past and present archivists, directors, and technicians who make the Ethnomusicology Archive the jewel in UCLA’s crown that it is.  Congratulations on 60 years!


Martin Daughtry, Ph.D. 2006

Associate Professor of Music, New York University

When I arrived at UCLA as a first-year graduate student, way back in the final year of the old millennium, the Archive gave me my first visceral impression of ethnomusicology. The contrast between the shady quietude of the room off the courtyard and the (imagined) polyphonic roar of the sound worlds housed therein was palpable, and intoxicating. In those early years, I always entered the room with a feeling of reverence and a kind of hushed humility—humility in the face of the massive geographic and temporal scope of the archive. “What a vast store of musical creativity,” I thought, “and how amazing that I have access to it!” Later, as I began to grasp the ethical complexity of the archival endeavor, this humility morphed into ambivalence. How, I began to wonder, can one possibly maintain a collection of ethnographic recordings without perpetuating the colonial logics that undergirded the research projects they supported? Aren’t ethnographic archives like this vestiges of a now-discredited, positivist practice of the West documenting “the rest?” Later still, I learned that the good people at UCLA had long been grappling with these very questions—much more thoughtfully, actively, and creatively than I ever had—and that they had reconfigured the Ethnomusicology Archive into a profoundly collaborative space that is responsive to the needs and concerns of the musicians and communities its recordings document. In light of all of this work, my humility and reverence have returned, stripped of their naivete. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is an amazing institution, less for the expansiveness of its collection (although it is expansive and growing all the time) than for the generosity and openness of its ethos. I hope it continues to support scholars and musicians, engage with diverse communities, and in so doing help UCLA fulfill its stated mission of “creat[ing], disseminat[ing], preserv[ing], and apply[ing] knowledge for the betterment of our global society.”


Vasana de Mel, Ph.D. 2006

Director, Resonations Studio, Littleton, Colorado

Opening out to a courtyard, the Ethnomusicology Archive that I knew 20 years ago was always a welcoming social hub (despite the need for quiet) bustling with student traffic, visitors from the general public and, quite often, Hollywood movie researchers seeking information from media collections to use in biographies or documentaries.

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive (under the supervision of then director Louise Spear and archivist Maureen Russell) was already facing a space deficit, spilling over with volumes of valuable media materials spanning the early years of the Ethnomusicology Institute at UCLA through to more recent field collections of ethnomusicologists by the time I began working there 20 years ago.

As employees at the archive, coworkers and I helped catalogue several collections, such as those of Colin McPhee, Don Ellis, and Mantle Hood, each helping me personalize some of the field’s pioneers who were otherwise mere references in ethnomusicology texts. Working on cataloging collections gave me hands-on experience as a researcher—having to piece together names of photographed individuals, instruments, people, locations, and event dates decades old. I was touched by the depth of personal relationships that Colin McPhee cultivated with those whom he studied, and I felt connected to the legacy of the Institute of Ethnomusicology at UCLA as I paged through pieces of its pictorial history featuring Mantle Hood and his graduate students who went on to represent ethnomusicology at major universities in the United States. For me, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive represented so much more than a place that housed dusty media materials—it was the heart of the department!


Tanya Merchant, Ph.D. 2006

Associate Professor, Music Department, UC Santa Cruz

My first memory of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive comes from my first quarter of graduate school in 2001. It was so exciting and humbling to see the shelves displaying dissertations of UCLA ethnomusicology alumni (including famous names I recognized even then), and to imagine that in a few years mine would join them. The archive was an important location for graduate students like myself to connect with the prestigious history of our discipline at UCLA, and to understand on a visceral level that we are part of something that was the first of its kind and is still innovative and important today. 

Later in my graduate studies I took Anthony Seeger’s graduate seminar “Audio Visual Archiving in the 21st Century,” which met in the archive. As my classmates and I sought to hone our expertise in the creation and preservation of field recordings, Prof. Seeger (assisted by archive staff) was able to demonstrate some of the challenges of archiving historical media via tangible examples. I don’t know of any other institution where I could have gotten such important hands-on supplementation to my seminar work.  

I am now an ethnomusicology professor with my own Ph.D. students, and the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive plays a crucial role in my graduate pedagogy. It is one of the few places that I can point my students toward as a source for ethically and legally collected and preserved field recordings. Just this quarter I included the Adam Matthew collection in my graduate seminar. I’ve sent my advisees to the digitized collections available online and also recommended that they travel to Los Angeles to experience the archive in person and search for relevant non-digitized materials for their work. When they do so, the archive staff who assist them are always helpful and insightful. They are an incredible boon to the Herb Alpert School of Music. Truly, the Ethnomusicology Archive is a precious and rare resource that we are lucky to have in the UC system. 


Jonathan Ritter, Ph.D. 2006

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology, UC Riverside

During my graduate student days at UCLA in the late 1990s, the Ethnomusicology Archive was in many ways the vibrant intellectual and social hub of the department. Faculty, staff, and students gathered there for weekly coffee breaks during or after seminars, extending conversations that began in the classroom and catching up with colleagues. Many of us chose to study there during the quiet hours of the day, periodically glancing up at the wall of PhD dissertations filed in the department dating back to the 1960s, wondering if and when our own work would join those groaning shelves. Performances and large classes took place in Jan Popper Hall, and conferences and rehearsals happened in the Gamelan Room, but the Archive was where we gathered, talked, studied, and even wrote.

For some of us, the Archive was also a place of employment, where working as a “Bibliographer II” (as my paystub read) informed both my knowledge of the archive’s collection and my understanding of its use and importance in the world. Like others who sat at that front desk looking out at the courtyard, I regularly fielded calls that ranged from Hollywood staffers seeking to source recordings for a film score to family members wanting to donate an elder relative’s collection of early-20th century phonographs. Many of the Hollywood staffers were clueless (“Do you have anything tribal, with some drums, we can use for a jungle chase scene?”), and not all of the would-be donations were useful (I learned that there are many “complete collections” of Elvis records), but all of the calls were a reminder of the precious resources that the Archive curated and preserved.

During those years, the Archive was also in the process of organizing its collection of photographs from the early years of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Institute in the 1950s and 60s, and one of my most memorable tasks as a student staffer was to create metadata files for each image. I soon learned to recognize Mantle Hood’s boxy crew cut from any angle, or to spot Gertrude Rivers Robinson in grainy photos of early gamelan rehearsals, and learned the names of the many instructors, professors, and students that had passed through our halls. I put Robert Garfias on speed dial for questions about unknown figures, ensembles, instruments, and performances, and was astonished to connect photos of Judy Mitoma as a young student performing Javanese dance with the inspiring professor in the World Arts and Cultures Department with whom many of us still studied and worked. In short, figures I knew from the written page or not at all came alive, and my knowledge not only of UCLA’s history, but of the development of the field of ethnomusicology itself, was endlessly enriched by the experience.

Ultimately, though, it is the collection itself that has had a long-term and ongoing impact on my professional life and research. As a novice charango player and aspiring Andean music scholar during my early graduate student years, the Archive’s collection of commercial LPs and field recordings of Andean music were crucial for my intellectual and musical development. Indeed, the contrast between those recordings—between what was promoted internationally on commercial recordings as “Andean” music and what was recorded by a handful of ethnomusicologists actually working in Andean communities—became a crucial lens for my understanding of the world music industry, and it continues to inform research that I am doing today in Peru and Ecuador, a quarter of a century later.

And just as my dissertation did, finally, make it onto that shelf in the Archive, so too will my field recording and commercial cassette/LP collection from the Andes, where they will hopefully inspire and inform some future student or scholar.


Chuen-Fung Wong, Ph.D. 2006

Associate Professor of Music, Macalester College

I was a PhD student in ethnomusicology at UCLA from 2002 to 2006. I consulted the Ethnomusicology Archive frequently during my study at UCLA, and benefited greatly from the recordings and printed materials of the music from East Asia and the broader Middle East preserved at the archive. The archive was also an active learning site: students learned about the practices and ideals of music archiving, history of recording and playback technologies, and the materiality of musical sound. It also provided invaluable opportunities for some of my fellow ethnomusicology students who pursued careers in music libraries.  

I continued to benefit from the archive after I graduated in 2006 and started teaching at Macalester College. This is particularly the case after the archive made available a number of its audiovisual materials and public lectures online. I use these materials routinely in my teaching and research. For a recent example, I played to my students and members of a music study group a very rare recording of UCLA faculty member Lui Tsun-yuen, a pipa virtuoso, performing the traditional classic “The Ambush” for the visiting masters Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha in 1965. 


Connie Oi-yan Wong, Ph.D. 2006

Pianist, piano teacher for special needs children, and independent scholar, Hong Kong

For me, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is like a mini Smithsonian Institution Archive. I worked part-time as an archive bibliographer when I pursued my graduate studies at UCLA. It was a wonderful learning experience: I managed to write, edit and keep records of original fieldwork recordings of major projects from various genres, ranging from East African music to Chinese music. These are precious resources collected from scholars and communities around the world. 

The Archive is also the "heart" of the Department of Ethnomusicology, located as it is at the center of Schoenberg Music Building. I treasured the coffee hours with my colleagues and classmates: not only were relationships built there, but also a unique "ethno-sphere" for nurturing intellectual dialogue. 


Liv Lande, Ph.D. 2007

Senior Adviser, Culture and Information Section, Embassy of Japan in Norway

When I came to UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology for the first time in 1999 to pursue my Ph.D. studies, I was overwhelmed and deeply impressed by the facilities of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. The Archive radiated international top-level expertise on world music traditions, with sincere seriousness and respect towards world music cultures. The archivist Louise Spear was always welcoming and helpful, giving me insightful recommendations on what to search for at the Archive. The Archive played a crucial role in my studies at UCLA, giving me access to audio, video and written materials which expanded my musical and academic horizons. 

During the daily coffee hour at the Archive, archivist Louise Spear played various music recordings in the background. When there were guests from a certain music community from some place in the world, Louise prepared some background music from that musical area. This practice created interesting conversations about music cultures. Even when my Norwegian mother visited me, and we attended the coffee hour, a CD with Norwegian Harding fiddle music was sounding in the background. Louise showed us the CD cover, and it turned out to be music from my district, Setesdal, played by my uncle Vidar Lande! My mother and I were very surprised and impressed.             

Congratulations on the 60th anniversary of the Archive. The Archive is so unique, so full of expertise and warmth! I still miss it very much. I have good and inspiring memories from the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.  


Tasaw Hsin-chun Lu, Ph.D. 2007

Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Associate Professor, Institute of Musicology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

During my graduate study at UCLA from 2003 to 2007, I became aware of the vast useful repositories within the Ethnomusicology Archive. Now I work in Taiwan as a research fellow. One of my long-term academic foci is the music-making and music history of immigrants who were brought from Southeast Asia to Taiwan. I have been involved with public initiatives with local musico-cultural organizations in seeking documentation from different collections (both public and private) in order to construct musical histories of these immigrants, along with identifying the musical characteristics of their communities. This work is intended to strengthen these people’s music folklife as well as bring social attention to their endangered traditional music genres and cultures. These endeavors are very much inspired by realizing the significance of an institution like UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive that is solely dedicated to the documentation, preservation, sustainability, and conservation of music and cultures from various regions. UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive not only contributes greatly to academic research projects, but also helps in many ways towards the well-being of musics and their communities.


Kevin C. Miller, Ph.D. 2008 (and MLIS, UCLA, 2010) 

Head of Archives and Special Collections & University Archivist, UC Davis 

Lead, Archives & Institutional Assets Program, UC Davis

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is an absolutely unique resource that I found to be critical to both my PhD in Ethnomusicology and my MLIS with an emphasis on archival studies. For me, it is a place of discovery, a hub of knowledge, and the setting of many fond memories. In addition to supporting my course work and original research at UCLA, the Archive became the home for all my field recordings, field notes, interview transcripts, and other research material from my Fulbright-sponsored PhD research in Fiji. The deposit of this material was, to me, one of the most important deliverables of my work. I am so pleased that a repository of recordings documenting the music and culture of this South Pacific diasporic community is now preserved by the Archive and made discoverable and accessible by students, researchers, and members of the Fijian community. The Archive has even entered innovation partnerships to help make this material available online through educational resources. The Archive was also a place of training and learning, especially after I entered the MLIS program, and I completed one of my internships in the Archive. That opportunity for hands-on learning in an audio-visual archive is a boon to the Library and Information Science program as well. Over the years, I worked with many of the Archive’s familiar figures, and each helped me along the way: John Vallier, Maureen Russell, Aaron Bittel, and, my advisor, Dr. Tony Seeger. Congratulations, UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, on your 60th anniversary!


Laith Ulaby, Ph.D. 2008

Director of Insights, Webflow

Adjunct Instructor, UC Berkeley School of Information

I am incredibly grateful for how technology has lowered the barriers to access for ethnomusicologists and those interested in world music cultures. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been on the cutting edge in helping to democratize access in a responsible and ethical way, but this trend extends well beyond the UCLA or even the field. While this has been an overwhelmingly positive development, as we reduce the friction to access materials, we also often risk losing the element of serendipity. At least for me, randomness and chance has been a powerful influence on my path and career. In addition to all the amazing things the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive provides, for me it is foremost a site of serendipity and possibility. It is the only place that has replicated the sense of wonder and discovery that I felt exploring my parents’ record collection as a child. I remember asking Maureen to pull a set of recordings and when she came back, she had also pulled a few adjacent items that she thought might be relevant as well. I never would have found them through a database search. There are countless stories of scholars making connections because they both happened to be visiting the archive at the same time. The interactions I had with recordings, books, and people at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive all had a profound ripple effect on how I approach data collection, mentorship, and ethnography to this day.


Shabnam Fasa, B.A. 2009

Founder and Executive Director, Santa Monica Youth Orchestra

As a graduate of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology program, and the founder of a local youth orchestra dedicated to promoting musical diversity, I would like to stress the importance of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive to my university experience and, potentially, the lives of my students.

First and foremost, the Ethnomusicology Archive is a tremendous resource for UCLA students. As undergrads, my colleagues and I spent hours in the Archive exploring sounds from around the world. For me, personally, it was an important avenue for investigating and embracing the music of my birthplace, Iran.

I believe the Archive has a similar ear- and mind-opening potential for young people in the LA community. In my role as Executive Director of the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra, I see the Archive as an incredible resource for students interested in both exploring the diversity of world music and familiarizing themselves with their own musical heritage.


Jeff Janeczko, Ph.D. 2009

Curator, Milken Archive of Jewish Music

Visiting Researcher, Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience, UCLA

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been of significant value to my work in the field of Jewish music, from my time as a graduate student to my recent endeavors in the nonprofit sector. As a graduate student, archivists at UCLA helped me understand and bring together musical resources that were often split between the Music Library and the Ethnomusicology Archive. John Vallier, now an archivist and curator at the University of Washington, was particularly helpful in securing a large quantity of commercially available recordings that were crucial to my research. He acquired these for free, even though they were eventually housed in the Music Library. Ethnographic resources crucial to the preservation and study of Jewish music are not commonly found in traditional libraries. It is therefore crucial that we maintain an institutional framework in which these materials can be preserved and accessed, as this allows scholars of contemporary Jewish music to understand its relation to Jewish culture’s many histories and traditions. Since helping establish the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience at UCLA, I have collaborated on several projects with Professor Mark Kligman and the center’s staff. When setting up a new platform for storing and providing access to a large oral history collection, we received considerable support in metadata curation from both Maureen Russell and Yuri Shimoda. I have been heartened to see the Herb Alpert School of Music invest in the Ethnomusicology Archive with new and expanded facilities. Archives and archivists remain crucial to the growth and development of the field of ethnomusicology.


Megan Rancier, Ph.D. 2009

Associate Teaching Professor

Director, BGSU Music Learning Community

Bowling Green State University, Ohio

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is a unique and priceless resource, housing original field recordings from generations of ethnomusicologists and covering a wide spectrum of geographical and cultural origins. UCLA is one of very few ethnomusicology programs to have an on-site archive, providing an invaluable collection of primary sources to researchers from UCLA, as well as guest scholars from around the world. In addition, the archive hosts many valuable events featuring music scholars and practitioners, actively demonstrating the continuing value of the archive to current and emerging participants in diverse areas of music research. I was very fortunate to have had a graduate assistantship in the archive during my graduate studies at UCLA, during which I observed first-hand the central role that the archive served in the scholarly—as well as social and cultural—life of the Ethnomusicology community. John Vallier, Maureen Russell, and David Martinelli tirelessly worked to make the archive as accessible as possible, and to ensure the preservation of archival holdings through digitization and web-based search capabilities. The Ethnomusicology Archive and its current staff continue that tradition of excellence by further expanding both the collections and accessibility to them.


Elizabeth McLean Macy, Ph.D. 2010

Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Now in its 60th year, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is an invaluable resource for ethnomusicologists, community members, and musicians around the world. While a student at UCLA, I had the opportunity to interact with the archive in a number of ways—from class visits with archivist Maureen Russell, to utilizing sources in the archive for my own research and classwork. I’ve seen the collections grow and develop, as friends of mine have worked to organize and archive donated materials. My first-hand experience of Mantle Hood’s recordings and writings was made possible due to the Archive’s holdings. And my family, when looking to place recordings of Navajo songs made by my grandfather in the 1960s, turned to the Ethnomusicology Archive as a reliable resource to do so. As a resource, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is an important part of the department, school, and university—and the entire community is better for it.


Julius Reder Carlson, Ph.D. 2011 (and Ph.D. in Musicology, UCLA, 2015)

Associate Professor of Music, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles

Artistic Director, Da Camera Society, Los Angeles

I write to celebrate the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, an institution I believe is crucial to both the academic legacy of UCLA and the University’s role as an advocate for cultural diversity in the local community.

A core component of the Institute of Ethnomusicology established at UCLA in the early 1960s, the Ethnomusicology Archive was central to the birth of the discipline of Ethnomusicology and, as such, reflects UCLA’s vaunted role as a locus of academic innovation. 

Today, the Archive continues to be held in high esteem within national and international academic circles. Equally importantly, it is an invaluable resource for communities in LA—including the Mexican-American and Filipino-American communities—interested in safeguarding and exploring their musical heritage.


Lauryn Camille Salazar, Ph.D. 2011

Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of Mariachi Programs, Texas Tech University

My name is Lauryn Camille Salazar, and I earned my Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2011. I’m currently an Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of the Mariachi Programs at Texas Tech University. The Ethnomusicology Archive at UCLA is renowned for its scope and importance in the field. In terms of my own research, the Borcherdt Collection, which is housed in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, was instrumental in my doctoral research for my dissertation. As a graduate student, I had the opportunity to repatriate recordings that Borcherdt had made in the early 1960s to an important family that makes the best mariachi instruments in Mexico. They had no recordings of their ancestor and cried when they heard them. Currently, I am contributing to a Spanish-language academic Mexican publication where I am using the resources of the collection. My research utilizing the archival collections has informed my applied work, which includes serving as a consultant on the Disney Pixar film Coco. In addition to the archival resources, it is also important to recognize the important work that Maureen Russell does as the archivist. She is knowledgeable, approachable, and helpful when it comes to navigating the vast resources of the archive. I have had the opportunity to give presentations on my research around the world, and both the UCLA ethnomusicology programs and the archive are revered and well respected at academic institutions across the globe.


Iris Yellum, B.A./M.A. 2011

Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University

South Asian and African Receiving and Copy Cataloguing Specialist, Stanford University Libraries

My name is Iris Yellum, and I graduated from UCLA in Ethnomusicology with a dual BA/MA degree in 2011. I am currently finishing my PhD in South Asian Studies at Harvard University. I am now working in Stanford University Libraries as South Asian and African Receiving and Copy Cataloging Specialist in the Acquisitions Department. I was lucky to work at the Ethnomusicology Archive while working on my BA/MA degree, where Aaron Bittel and Maureen Russell were wonderful and generous mentors. They taught me so much about libraries and archives. I had the opportunity to work with such a variety of materials, and to learn about the library and archival professions from them. I processed everything from piano rolls to correspondence on the acquisition of UCLA’s gamelan. It gave me the foundation for my current position, in which I create bibliographic records for monographs in Urdu, ultimately contributing to the OCLC catalog. The archive was also essential to a summer junior fellowship at the Library of Congress that I completed in 2019, processing microfilms of South Asian newspapers.


Catherine M. Appert, Ph.D. 2012

Associate Professor, Department of Music, Cornell University

UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive is the heart of a program renowned for both its historical formative role in the discipline of ethnomusicology and its continued presence at the forefront of the field. Scholars across the humanities value archives as repositories of the past that serve as crucial resources for contemporary knowledge production. Archives and the professionals who maintain them, however, do not only do the important work of preserving and cataloguing (including, in UCLA’s case, unique collections of ethnographic field recordings from a diverse range of California practitioners). Increasingly, archivists like UCLA’s own Maureen Russell, whom I remember warmly from my time in the PhD program, have expanded traditional uses of the archive beyond the world of academia. Through large scale digitization projects and the enlargement of on-site facilities to accommodate both growing collections and increasing numbers of visitors, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive models an ethical archival practice that expands access beyond the bounds of academia and embraces accountability to the greater intellectual and public communities of which it is a part. 


Rebecca Dirksen, Ph.D. 2012

Associate Professor, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University

I am a 2012 PhD graduate from the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology and am now Associate Professor in the Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. While working on my doctoral degree at UCLA, my time spent in the Ethnomusicology Archive, besides helping me to know more about what an archive is and how it works, led me to the field recordings of Harold Courlander. Courlander (1908–1996) was a noted folklorist and anthropologist who traveled frequently to Haiti and wrote two foundational ethnographic books on Haitian culture: Haiti Singing (1939) and The Drum and the Hoe: Life and Lore of the Haitian People (1960). He was deeply interested in oral traditions, including those revolving around sound and music, and his audio recordings of these research encounters are now a part of the Ethnomusicology Archive. As a scholar of Haitian music, these early experiences with Courlander’s field recordings have set me up well for a career that now includes many years living in Haiti and nearly two decades dedicated to collaborative research in the country, represented through a multimodal publication record with ever-increasing commitments to co-creation and co-authorship. My own trajectory would look a bit different if I had not had the opportunity to study how Courlander approached his work several generations ago.

My engagement with the Ethnomusicology Archive has helped to shape my vision and guiding priorities as a scholar. Today, as I work with graduate and undergraduate students, I note that archives are not remotely a relic of the past, but are rather rising to the very forefront of music and sound studies, across disciplinary boundaries. Most of my current nine doctoral advisees include archival work as a major component of their research programs, and several are positioning this archival encounter in ethical, revolutionary, and decolonial ways that assist in better hearing diverse voices, so often silenced, alongside the resonating silences of who and what are not present and privileged in these spaces. Furthermore, current priorities in using archives to their fullest potential include community outreach and engagement with the collections as well as repatriation efforts. These are exciting avenues of ethical inquiry, activism, and reconciliation that we have before us now as we look toward the future and create its many possibilities together. With the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archives and other parallel efforts, such as the Archives of Traditional Music (ATM) and the Archives of African American Music and Culture (AAAMC) at my home institution of Indiana University, we are well positioned to recognize that our institutions of memory are essential to the ways we work, the histories we shape to understand our communities, and the care for each other that we cultivate and hold more generally as scholars, performers, and citizens.


Michael Silvers, Ph.D. 2012

Associate Professor, Ethnomusicology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was an important and formative space early in my career. As a graduate student, I worked one term digitizing recordings from the collection—these were from the 1960s. Listening to them transported me. And I could feel the weight of the job, as I was helping not only to safeguard but also to make available important recordings of humanity in its rich diversity and constant state of change. Research in the Ethnomusicology Archive allowed us as students to connect physically and aurally with a history of ideas and ways of doing scholarship and to behold the institution’s disciplinary legacy.


Angsumala Tamang, Ph.D. 2012

Hindustani classical violinist

Visiting Instructor, University of South Florida, Tampa

I would like to congratulate the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive on the 60th anniversary of its official opening last year! As an alumna, it brings back fond memories of taking a class titled “Audiovisual Archiving in the 21st Century,” offered by Prof. Antony Seeger and Aaron Bittel, former Ethnomusicology Archive Librarian at UCLA and currently Director of World Music Archives and Music Librarian at Wesleyan University, in Winter 2008. This class, in addition to my own experiences conducting archival research in northeast sub-Himalayan India, helped me to realize that archives were not just important centers for preserving and documenting human activities, but also empowering sites that provide minority communities and disenfranchised group(s) a chance to discover, explore, and contribute towards their forgotten past and/or erased memories. As reservoirs of human stories that help narrate histories of belonging and community knowledge through evolving musico-cultural practices, I believe archives qualify for full support as custodians of invaluable information that contribute meaningfully towards people’s movements and critical academic work/research geared towards justice, inclusivity, and empathy.


Kathleen Wiens, Ph.D. 2012

Museum and heritage professional (self-employed, full-time), Canada

When I think of personally transformative moments, I think of listening to the voice of Rabbi Danon in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. Rabbi Danon’s songs (part of Ankica Petrovic’s collection and life’s work) bring to life a Jewish voice from a time and place where Jewish voices, lifeways, and heritage were obliterated. The sound of his voice hit me in the heart, and I asked: what was his world like? His hopes, dreams, desires? That feeling of connection to a person I have never met lives inside me still. Today, my role as a museum professional often involves deploying sound as a tool for visitors to grapple with their inner and outer worlds.  Every day in my work, I am reminded of the ways in which sound is a powerful tool for empathy. It is a vital tool for bringing human stories to life, and for visitor teaching and learning. Sound helps people understand how other humans make sense of grief, joy, individuality and community. These are the human experiences—the teachings and learnings—that the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive keeps safe for future generations. I hope that every UCLA student has a chance for their own magical moment in that same space. What a marvelous opportunity for transforming minds and hearts, and for fostering connection and understanding.


Jesse Ruskin, Ph.D. 2013

Lecturer in Liberal Arts & Sciences, Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles

In my first graduate school course at UCLA, History of Ethnomusicology, our professor posed a question: what if, rather than proceeding in the established manner from “field to lab,” we were to begin our research in the archive and then proceed to the field? I accepted this challenge, and quickly saw that it demanded more than a methodological reversal; it called into question my assumptions about the purposes and possibilities of the archive. While I had previously pictured the archive as a dusty repository where dissertation projects went to die, what I discovered there was something much different, much more alive. The archive offered an immersive cultural experience that no book or college course could ever replicate. Diving in to its renowned collection of audio and visual recordings, I encountered a beautiful and bewildering world of human musical expression, as well as a record of the personal and institutional relationships that brought those sounds into being. 

I was particularly captivated by Archiving Filipino American Music in Los Angeles (AFAMILA), a project developed by the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive in 2003 in partnership with Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts (KNL) to document a year in the musical life of Filipino Americans in Los Angeles. Through this effort, the Archive sought both to expand its representation of Asian American music and to bridge the gap between the university and the wider Los Angeles community. My engagement with this collection resulted in a published paper: “Collecting and Connecting: Archiving Filipino American Music in Los Angeles,” Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, Vol. 11 (2006). The paper examines the AFAMILA project as a case study of ”collaborative archiving,” from the perspective that both methodology (strategies and practices of collection development) and musical content (the sounds collected) determine the wider relevance and potential uses of archives. This article contributes to a redefinition of the archive as not only a repository, but also a dynamic site of knowledge production—where community stakeholders and academic researchers can work together for mutual benefit.


Jessie M. Vallejo, Ph.D. 2014

Ethnomusicologist, Mariachi Director, Associate Professor of Music, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

My name is Dr. Jessie M. Vallejo, and I am writing to express my utmost gratitude and appreciation for the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. I received my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2010 and 2014, respectively. Currently, I am Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The Ethnomusicology Archive has been––and continues to be––a critical resource for my career as an ethnomusicologist and as an educator. While I was in graduate school, the Archive offered us indispensable materials for research and hands-on training and experiences that help shape our individual careers and pursuits. In my case the Archive helped interest me in and prepare me for the Smithsonian Folklife and Folkways internship that has heavily influenced my career trajectory.

One example of a special event that was only possible because of the Ethnomusicology Archive and its early collections is the 50th anniversary and reunion for Mariachi Uclatlán members that we held in 2013. I co-produced this event with Dr. Lauryn Salazar, who is also a UCLA Ethnomusicology Ph.D. alum, and we relied on the Donn Borcherdt and Ethnomusicology Department ensemble collections from the 1960s through the 1990s in order to trace the history of mariachi research and music education in the United States. The Ethnomusicology Archive facilitated and documented an informative discussion with members and teachers of Mariachi Uclatlán, including founding members from the 1960s and renowned UCLA alumni who have shaped the course of our field and mariachi music. Archivists Aaron Bittel and Maureen Russell were instrumental in these efforts.

These positive experiences and so many more allowed me to witness first-hand how important these archives are to our work as ethnomusicologists and how we may give back to the communities we work with for our scholarship. Since graduating in 2014, I have remained involved in helping to maintain the mariachi collections. I also began my own collection on Kichwa music in the Ethnomusicology Archive because I want to ensure that the materials will always be available to the Kichwa community in South America and the diaspora. Each year I have mariachi musicians ask me about the resources available and I have begun discussions with Maureen Russell about how to offer community workshops for mariachis who would like to work with the collections. This year, a first-generation Kichwa-Canadian student reached out to me for information on my collections, and it is a priority for me that my materials will always be available to descendants of these communities and future graduate students even after I pass away. For many people, the Ethnomusicology Archive offers a uniquely accessible and precious resource for their communities, families, and affinity groups, especially for those who are overlooked or marginalized in most academic and musical institutions. Digital projects like Adam Matthew Digital help ensure the information is maintained for future generations.

Finally, I want to emphasize how the Ethnomusicology Archive offers an important educational space for UCLA students as well as students and musicians from other areas. For example, one of my CPP students designed his senior project around field recordings and sound studies of the Southern California area. We visited the Ethnomusicology Archive as part of his research, and Archivist Aaron Bittel kindly gave my student an overview of the holdings and items related to his project. Another student of mine became involved with the Filipina/o American arts collective Ube Arte shortly after graduating with his Bachelor’s degree. The Archive’s collaboration with Ube Arte and California Revealed allowed him to continue his senior project thesis through meaningful applied ethnomusicology projects that his community has defined as priorities.

These projects only describe a fraction of how the Ethnomusicology Archive has been important for our field and my own work, and I look forward to future collaborations and events that highlight the collections and their influence on our understanding of the world and humanity through music.


León Felipe Garcia Corona, Ph.D. 2015

Assistant Professor of Musicology, School of Music, Northern Arizona University

The Ethnomusicology Archive at UCLA is of immense importance for the discipline of ethnomusicology and beyond. The oral history recordings, concerts, symposia, and masterclasses, along with physical artifacts, constitute a treasure trove not only for students but for humankind. It provides valuable research materials of music around the world, and many of its holdings contain the history of the discipline within the state of California. My research has been enriched by wonderful archived materials such as Tito Puente’s master class with Professor Steve Loza, or the collection of Music of Mexico (1920–1930), which contributed to my dissertation entitled ”Mexico’s Broken Heart: Music, Politics, and Sentimentalism.” Through the leadership of Aaron and Maureen, many of these materials are now available online, and the staff have worked hard to make the archives accessible, useful, and meaningful. I respectfully submit my strongest support of the Ethnomusicology Archives and its mission.


Meghan Hynson, Ph.D. 2015

Visiting Assistant Professor, University of San Diego

My name is Meghan Hynson, and I received my PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2015. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of San Diego and have held three other full-time positions at Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Monmouth University. I attribute most of my success to the incredible program in ethnomusicology at UCLA, and an important part of that program is the Ethnomusicology Archive. As a first-year graduate student, I worked briefly as an intern in the archive and received my first introduction to archiving and library skills with Aaron Bittel. It was also during this time that I became aware of the amazing materials housed in the archive, most notably the Colin McPhee collection. The collection consists of McPhee’s research materials, writings, compositions, and recordings informed by his work in Bali, Indonesia in the 1930s. As a graduate student who was preparing a dissertation on shadow theater music of Bali, it was extremely helpful to have McPhee’s materials at my fingertips. The archive was not only a place to seek resources to inform my scholarship, but also a source of inspiration. It symbolized the importance of ethnomusicological inquiry and made me feel like I was part of a long legacy of scholars and researchers. The Ethnomusicology Archive validated the path I had chosen for my life and was part of the reason why I wanted to study ethnomusicology at UCLA. It is a large part of what makes up the heart of the Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA and the field of ethnomusicology in general.


Ryan Koons, Ph.D. 2016

Folklife Specialist, Maryland State Arts Council

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive laid the foundation for my career in the cultural heritage sector, making it possible for me to develop new and improved ethical approaches to managing Indigenous archival collections in collaboration with tribal communities. I am fortunate to have studied archival techniques under the world-class tutelage of archivist Maureen Russell, former Archive director Anthony Seeger, and former archivist Aaron Bittel while completing my doctoral work in UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology, 2010–2016. Learning from them made it possible for me to pass the Academy of Certified Archivists exam to become a “certified archivist,” the highest certification an archivist can achieve globally, and the single most difficult exam I have ever taken. I now combine my certification and doctorate in my career at the Maryland State Arts Council, where I work as Folklife Specialist. My job involves co-administering Maryland Traditions, the state’s traditional arts/folklife program, and overseeing the Maryland Traditions Archives (MTA), housed in collaboration with Special Collections at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I use the skills I learned at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archives daily: processing collections, providing reference services, working with donors and stakeholders, and the hundred and one other tasks archivists do. 

Of particular note, my time learning from UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive staff aided my study in becoming a specialist in the ways American Indian peoples connect to items accessioned in archival collections as “persons” rather than “objects.” I was fortunate to “think with” with UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive staff on this topic for a number of years, and their kind contributions polished the ideas into comprehensive theories. I now put these theories into practice at the MTA, where we are collaborating on an archival collection with the Baltimore-based diasporic community of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, the largest community of Lumbee outside their traditional lands. This collection vitally and unusually features a “Bill of Rights” that outlines the duties and rights of the donating community members, of the archival repository, and of the objects housed in the collection. We’re breaking new ground with this project, modeling ways that archival repositories can better and more ethically support and engage with tribal communities—and the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive laid the foundation for us to do so.


Logan E. Clark, Ph.D. 2017

Executive Assistant, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

My knowledge of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive existed years before I became a graduate student there. My grandma, who—though she did not obtain a formal college degree—was the most erudite scholar I’ve known, told me about her visit to UCLA to learn more about the Tibetan singing bowls she had acquired on her most recent travels with my granddad. I imagined that a place with such knowledge must be a vast cavern of book-lined wooden walls with resonant arched ceilings. Though the reality of the compact space was surprising upon my arrival as a graduate student, I grew to know it as even more magical for the amount of facts, sounds, and texts that could all be kept in order in such a small space. It was there that I first heard Linda O’Brien’s field recordings from Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, convincing me that I wanted to also do my work with Mayan groups in that country. It was there that I deposited my field recordings after four years of periodic fieldwork in Guatemala. And it was there that I did some brief consulting and administrative work at the very beginning of the renovation—work that contributed in no small part to me landing my current position at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Perhaps most importantly, it was in the Ethnomusicology Archive that I always felt welcomed by Aaron Bittel, Maureen Russell, or David Martinelli when I wanted to stop in with a question, or just to chat during coffee break in the courtyard. I am glad that the space has been upgraded to reflect the importance of the informational treasures it holds, and hope that it continues to provide the same wonder for future students as it did for me.


Kristina Nielsen, Ph.D. 2017

Assistant Professor of Musicology, Southern Methodist University, Texas

I am so grateful to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and Aaron Bittel, Maureen Russell, and David Martinelli, whose hard work made it possible to digitally share my fieldwork in a stable format. Without a cadre of experts invested in protecting research from changing technological tides, today’s digital research is precipitously close to vaporizing with any new ill-conceived software update. UCLA is fortunate to have such a group of experts protecting the millions of dollars’ worth of research its students, faculty, and others continue to complete. I am so grateful for the work of the archivists who protect, sort, host, and share digital collections that benefit both researchers and communities. Having completed local fieldwork, I am particularly grateful that the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive will continue to foster relationships with communities and be a public service to the people of Los Angeles, California, and the broader international community. I am thankful that my research can outlive me, and I hope that the archive will continue to be a place that safeguards research against the many perils it faces.


Badema Pitic, Ph.D. 2017

Acting Head of Research Services, University of Southern California Shoah Foundation –Institute for Visual History and Education

I was fortunate to be given an opportunity to support the work of the Ethnomusicology Archive during the final year of my graduate studies at UCLA. What a joy it was to have a dedicated time to explore and help catalog only a couple among many other valuable and fascinating collections that the Archive preserves! Today, while working for another organization that also owns and grows the largest archive of its kind in the world, I can only appreciate my experience at the Ethnomusicology Archive even more, for I know the dedication and effort that archivists pour in everyday into making this bastion of materials available to all of us. I learned so much from the amazing Aaron Bittel and Maureen Russell during my time there, whose guidance prepared me for my first role after graduation.


Kim Nguyen Tran, Ph.D. 2017

Associate Director, Bridge to Everywhere (

Founding Member, Missing Piece Project (

As a young graduate student, exploring the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was instrumental in opening my eyes to the richness of knowledge that exists outside of conventional publications. Much of our collective cultural knowledge is held by ordinary (and extraordinary) people who are not necessarily formally trained academic researchers who would have access to the publication process. My experiences looking at archival materials early on in my research career had a strong influence on my current work. I am a founding member of the Missing Piece Project, a collective art project at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC that is creating a community archive of artifacts centering Southeast Asian refugee experiences. For many reasons, Southeast Asian refugee experiences are often missing in the ways that the US remembers (and forgets) the Vietnam War. Community archives are a vital source of cultural knowledge that simply is not found in traditional libraries. With the beautiful recent renovations that have made the Ethnomusicology Archive even more accessible and inviting, and with continued support from the UCLA administration, I know that this vital space will continue to impact the lives of current and future students in profound ways!


Laura Jane Yee, B.A. 2017

National Workshops Manager, Harmony Project, Los Angeles

The Ethnomusicology Archive at UCLA is one of the most important sources of audio and/or video information for researchers and scholars who specialize in topics in non-western classical history, music, anthropology, etc. UCLA’s Ethnomusicology program is set apart from other similar programs at other universities due to the students’ access to such valuable and otherwise inaccessible information at the Archive. For example, when I taught an undergraduate seminar at UCLA in Spring 2019, I reached out to Maureen Russell, a librarian at the Ethnomusicology Archive, to place on hold some listening materials for my students to explore at the Archive. My class topic was titled “Fusion Music: The Effects of Colonization, Nationalism, and Globalization,” and I took the opportunity to encourage my students to check out this unique resource by incorporating a visit to the Archive as part of their final listening and writing project.

My first interaction with Maureen was in Fall 2015, when I had the privilege of taking her class “Ethnomusicology 185: Information Literacy and Research Skills.” This class taught me how to correctly cite my sources—a skill that I continued to use extensively throughout my undergraduate career.


Deonte Harris, Ph.D. 2018

Assistant Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies Program and Music Department, Duke University

During my years as a graduate student at UCLA (2012–2018), the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was instrumental in cultivating my interest in researching the musics of the global African diaspora. The archivist there at the time, Maureen Russell, helped me on several different occasions with navigating the rich audiovisual materials and texts available at the Archive, no matter the scale of my projects (term paper, Master’s thesis, dissertation, etc.). While the overwhelming majority of research on African diasporic musics focuses largely on communities in the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean, the Archive also has wonderful primary and secondary source materials on communities of African descent across the Indian Ocean as well, including on the Sidi Sufis of Gujarat (India). So, in addition to the expertise and professionalism of Maureen, I came to value the Archive early in my graduate student experience because the materials available there made me more attentive to articulations of Africanity and Blackness beyond the Atlantic region. This experience left an indelible mark on me and informs my research, scholarship, and teaching today in a multitude of ways. 


Eric J. Schmidt, Ph.D. 2018

Assistant Director, African Studies Center, Boston University

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was a critical part of my training, whether through its rich research collections, rare audiovisual technology that enabled me to consult valuable historic recordings, or the knowledge and support of its staff who were integral in the ethnomusicology community. I was always amazed by how, even in casual conversation at coffee hour or just passing in the hallway, Maureen Russell and Aaron Bittel would regularly introduce me to one of the archive’s collections related to my research in oblique but generative ways. Meanwhile, David Martinelli helped set me up with the archive equipment necessary to digitize a collection of fragile cassettes I collected in Niger as part of my field research, ensuring their preservation as a research resource throughout my career. 

In my current role at Boston University, I was delighted to find that our African Studies Library staff had already added the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive’s collection published with Adam Matthew Digital, Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings, to its rich array of recommended resources for scholars and students in African studies—before I first approached them about developing research guides for my courses on African popular culture and African music. Like UCLA, BU is home to one of the oldest African studies programs in the US and has an extensive network of established and emerging scholars who regularly consult our library resources and trust our librarians for research advice. The Global Field Recordings collection has been highlighted multiple times in the “African Studies Library Featured Resource” section of the BU African Studies Center’s email newsletters, sent out to our international community on a weekly basis. I also relied on the recordings, drawn from UCLA faculty, students, and other contributors, to introduce my BU students to the breadth of Africa’s musical heritage.

Finally, I should add that the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive’s programming of lectures and presentations on archives with access on Zoom has been a critical channel by which I can remain connected to the latest developments in ethnomusicology research. While I work at another institution with its own strong legacy in music studies and African studies, we do not have a repository of the scale of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. It continues to support my professional growth in ways I never imagined as a student, even from the other corner of the country.


John Widman, Ph.D. 2019

Independent scholar and arborist, Ann Arbor, Michigan

My name is John Widman. I received a PhD in ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2019 and currently work as an independent scholar and aerial arborist. I took “Audiovisual Archiving in the 21st Century” from Aaron Bittel and Maureen Russell during my time at UCLA and also worked as a Graduate Student Researcher in the archive during my final year of courses. While I conducted my studies, it was encouraging to see the transition from the old archive space to a new space that is better suited to the preservation of the vast number of resources that are available to scholars. For me as a student, UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive was one of the few repositories in the United States with recordings related to my research (the folk singing of the Zhuang minority in southern China). Working in the archive provided greater exposure to early recordings of Chinese music and helped me unearth more information about knowledge of my research area among Western scholars and enthusiasts. Finally, working with and learning from Aaron and Maureen during my time at UCLA helped to further instill in me the importance of organizing data collection while conducting field research. Because of these experiences, I am very grateful to the people who have passionately worked to make the archive what it is today and hope that its resources will continue to be available to music scholars long into the future. 


Edwin E. Porras, Ph.D. 2020

Inaugural Norton Family Assistant Professor of Music, Haverford College, Pennsylvania

On the 60th anniversary of the official opening of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, I am delighted to share the story of my relationship to this most wonderfully indispensable place. My encounter with serious archival research and work began in 2014 as an ethnomusicology Ph.D. student at UCLA. I have come to understand, through my work and engagement with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, that these types of institutional repositories represent complex processes that involve people—cultural bearers, academics, archivists, and enthusiasts—and their relationship to the creation of knowledge. One of my earliest epiphanies was to realize that archives play a significant role in the work of Ph.D. candidates. A peer showed me with great pride the fieldwork materials she had deposited at the Ethnomusicology Archive, and I instantly gained a new sense of respect for her work and the work of the archivists. The collection represented the preservation and validation of the cultural achievements of the social groups that contributed to her dissertation project; to me, the Ethnomusicology Archive gave testament to the sincere and rigorous work of a peer, whose work inspired my own. At another level, many in the field of ethnomusicology are concerned with “giving back” to those people and communities who contribute to our academic pursues and with whom, in many cases, we create strong bonds. I find that preserving our work in archives is no small way to give back, by making these people and their musical cultures and contributions available and visible. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive blooms with the important work of scholars like my classmate.

Between 2018 and 2019, as I entered the final stage of my doctoral degree, I had the opportunity, as a research assistant, to work at the Ethnomusicology Archive. Under the guidance and supervision of Maureen Russell (2021 Librarian of the Year Awardee), Aaron Bittel (former archive librarian and head of digital projects), and Yuri Shimoda (former digitization and preservation specialist), I worked in various capacities, including metadata entry, editing digital images, and processing new collections. This experience made me aware of the meticulous work involved, for instance, in the preservation of cultural materials and the protection of the intellectual property of vulnerable social groups. One of the most rewarding and ambitious projects I was involved in was processing the Bette Cox collection, a gargantuan task, now in its last stages. Ms. Cox left behind a wealth of audio-visual materials on the history of African American music in Los Angeles among her legacy. Since I graduated, the videos have been digitized and made available online through California Revealed, one of many partnerships through which almost all our California holdings that can ethically and legally be made open access have been or are in the process to be added. I am also proud to have been part of a team of transcribers in support of the Filipina/o American arts collective Ube Arte, which culminated in the creation of Our Culture Resounds, Our Future Reveals: A Legacy of Filipino American Performing Arts in California, an open-access online resource book that has been accessed through California Revealed over 4,000 times!

As I enter a new phase in my academic career as the Inaugural Norton Family Assistant Professor of Music at Haverford College, I intend to continue to take advantage of the numerous resources offered (e.g., 150,000 items) by the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. As the second largest audio-visual archive of traditional music in the country, the Ethnomusicology Archive represents a tremendous contribution to the intellectual lives of students at UCLA and at many other institutions such as Haverford College that lack this type of resource. In addition, I am preparing to deposit my own fieldwork materials to fulfill the promise I made to the groups that contributed to my dissertation project of preserving and sharing their cultural knowledge. I am proud and grateful for the unique experience with which the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and its dedicated archivists provided me, and hope that it continues to be appreciated and to grow in strength as a most essential component of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.


Alyssa Mathias, Ph.D. 2021

Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA Promise Armenian Institute

I am thrilled to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. From the beginning of my graduate studies at UCLA, archivists Maureen Russell and Aaron Bittel taught the hands-on research skills that prepared me for properly handling rare and fragile recordings during my dissertation fieldwork abroad. Now as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, I am using the archive’s collection of mid-twentieth-century California Armenian recordings as primary sources for a new project; that these sound tape reels have been digitized makes it easy to discuss them with community members for further context and significance. Teaching is another area in which I am grateful for the archive’s digitization efforts: when classes went online in Spring 2020, I was relieved to have Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings at my fingertips. The musical instrument demonstration videos were especially well received, and they are now fully integrated into my intro-level syllabi.





All students listed are registered in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology.


Lucas Avidan

My experience with the archive, both in the materials that it has been able to provide as well as the staff and faculty who work there, has always been unequivocally excellent. Maureen especially deserves a shout out for being one of the most helpful and knowledgeable people in the School of Music. I have worked with her extensively in classes on audiovisual archiving and oral history, and the lessons provided by her on how to manage, plan, and create an archive are invaluable for my current and future work. Also, I still use her methodology taught to me in her oral history class to conduct and transcribe interviews. I also intend to deposit some of my own materials that I have gathered from my research into the archive for future benefit. The renovated archive is also a beautiful space, which now is in line with the wealth of materials housed there. I wish the archive, and the wonderful people who work there, many years of continued success and achievement.


Mei-Chen Chen

Working in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive as a GSR has been a pleasure. Maureen Russell is always helpful and a great supervisor. I am fortunate to have had opportunities to work on collections and projects that have shaped my understanding of the field. For example, when I worked on the Adam Mathew project, I was able to process well-known ethnomusicologists’ fieldnotes and materials. The meticulous documentation showed me how to document details in the field and manage materials. Furthermore, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work on the Catherine Stevens Collection of Chinese music genres recorded in Taiwan in 1960 and the Norman Track collection of Naxi recordings. Both collections broadened my understanding of Chinese music (broadly defined) and piqued my interest in future research.

Taking the oral history and audiovisual archiving seminars with Maureen Russell and Aaron Bittel prepared me to conduct fieldwork in Taiwan. They taught me data management, recording equipment, interview methods, long-term preservation, and ethical considerations as a music researcher. Those lessons are extremely valuable and practical. Especially, Maureen was always helpful and generous in answering questions during my fieldwork.

 I am glad to work as GSR again after returning from fieldwork, and I am astonished by the growing collections in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. I hope there will be more archivists and GSRs working in the Archive!


John Jang

Congratulations on the 60th anniversary! My first interaction with the archive was when I took the information literacy and research skills class with Maureen in 2020. I also had the chance to be in a class with Yuri too. I had already heard about the archive since I was doing my Master’s degree in New Zealand, but I didn’t know it was maintained by such wonderful people who are best in their field. They both left only positive impressions in my first quarter as an international graduate student in the department. I wish all the very best for the archive to thrive, serving researchers, students, and the community well into the future.


Breana McCullough

The Ethnomusicology Archive here at UCLA has been immensely helpful to me as a graduate student. When making my decision for the graduate school I would be attending, I chose UCLA because of the archive and the materials it housed. There is a collection of videos pertaining to people within my tribe and surrounding tribes that will become immensely useful in the research I will be conducting around Indigenous epistemologies. The Ethnomusicology Archive and the people within it allow for these materials to be easily accessed and examined. I am extremely grateful to have this resource at my fingertips at UCLA and would emphasize that the archive was not only a large part of my decision-making process, but is also an acclaimed archive within our field and related fields of study that provides resources for a significant number of scholars. Overall, the archive has provided myself and many others the tools needed to conduct research, elevate diverse voices, and expand on various experiences and histories.


Lorali Mossaver-Rahmani

I began my first GSRship in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive this past Spring quarter and have benefited immensely from the opportunities presented to me. Along with depositing my own field work and oral history interviews, I’ve been given the chance to develop metadata in processing a field work collection that inspires my own work. Working with Professor Russell has showed me the value of the archive—a place of cultural stewardship, ethics, and community-centered preservation projects. Our archive is irreplaceable and is invaluable to the community members, students, and scholars who reply on the archives resources. As a GSR, I am gaining applicable skills that will strengthen my own scholarship and aide me in developing my own community archive for those who I work with/for. Congratulations on 60 years! Let this be only the beginning.


Alfredo Rivera

The archive has been a special place for me during my experience at UCLA over the last 8 years. I have visited the space to find liner notes on recordings that are hard to find. The guide that Maureen put together online has been a great resource to myself and my students ( The class for oral history that Maureen taught with Dr. Rees and Aaron Bittel has been invaluable in my field work and overall research. I also appreciate the opportunity I had through a GSRship at the archive to work with Filipino-American video documents, as that research is a connection to my child’s heritage, and the process helped me to have practical experience of translating and transcribing A/V recordings other than my own. I look forward to exploring the space more in person for years to come.


Otto Stuparitz

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been foundational to my research and ethics as a music researcher. The collections and the personnel of the archive shaped my dissertation, my class projects as student and teacher, and my music making. It heavily influenced my dissertation exploring grassroots popular music archives in Indonesia. The lessons I learned as a GSR taught me about field collection management, metadata and material processing, and standards for long-term preservation. These lessons helped me recognize different activities during my fieldwork and offer support to other communities. I had many discussions with Yuri Shimoda about my fieldwork, and she pointed me towards new critical archive studies resources that attentively improved my project. During my teaching, I have always used the physical and online collections, such as a classroom visit for my Music and Media course from Aaron Bittel, who brought in rare and unusual recording devices. Maureen Russell’s work on the Adam Matthew project that hosts recorded materials of UCLA’s world music ensembles and instrument collection were extremely helpful when teaching courses about gamelan during the pandemic. These archival materials have become fixtures in my pedagogy in both classroom settings and in ensemble rooms.

Early on the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive got me off on the right foot, when I reviewed the field collections of Mantle Hood for a class project. I was able to learn much about the history of the UCLA Javanese gamelan named Khjai Mendung, such as its genealogy in a certain part of Central Java. This allowed me to retrace some of Hood’s steps to purchase new instruments (to replace a few that had gone missing) in my efforts to restore the Javanese gamelan ensemble. Javanese gamelan ensemble returned in 2018, which would have not been possible without the materials in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. I have only been able to use the new space a few times, since it opened at the same time I left for fieldwork. I was able to give a lecture/workshop in early 2020 to the Herbie Hancock Institute students about gamelan and jazz fusion, which was then incorporated into some of their final world music compositions. I hope the new space allows more cross-pollination like this between the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and every UCLA Herb Albert School of Music student.


Tingting Tang

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has a rich history of preserving musical materials from around the world and is now the second-largest AV archive of traditional music in the U.S. When I came to UCLA as a visiting scholar in 2018, I was deeply attracted and surprised by the collections of this archive. At that time, I had the great honor of working with a Naxi visiting artist, He Jinhua, and other UCLA graduate students on the Adam Matthew project at the Archive. My work for this project was to help classify and identify the contents of the Norman Track Collection of Naxi folk music from southwest China held by the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology and make them available to the public. This cooperation with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was the first time that I participated in the sorting of precious field recording materials since I started ethnomusicology research. After becoming an ethnomusicology graduate student at UCLA, I took several courses taught by Professor Maureen Russell: ETHNMUS 185, Information literacy and research skills; ETHNMUS C200, Audiovisual Archiving in 21st Century; and ETHNMUS 292B, Oral History of UCLA Ethnomusicology, which have provided a solid foundation for my ongoing research and my future dissertation. These courses fill in the gaps in my own knowledge from the perspectives of the functions and use of international academic databases, traditional music collection techniques (especially metadata and applied archiving), and oral history as an ethnomusicological research method. The use of the scholarly resource database has become one of the most practical techniques for my study and research at UCLA. Meanwhile, the applied archival techniques and oral history project will contribute to two important chapters of my planned dissertation, which will greatly broaden my research horizon and the significance of my research. Moreover, I will be making direct use of the Norman Track collection that I worked on, because my dissertation is a restudy of Naxi folksong. I feel very proud that our department is able to provide visiting scholars and students with the opportunity to participate in the practice of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and to have an experienced archivist teaching these courses. It’s an experience we can’t get easily anywhere else. I am planning to apply for the GSRship in the future and personally participate in hands-on collections processing in the Archive.


Tyler Ymin

Some of my best memories from my time at UCLA were made in the Ethnomusicology Archive. I was fortunate enough to be associated with the Archive as both a GSR and a researcher, as well as being a student in Aaron and Maureen’s archiving seminar. These experiences have shaped the course of my own career: research in the collections of ethnomusicologists like Colin McPhee and Mantle Hood directly led to several publications. A surprise find in the McPhee collection (enough documentation to build and play a Balinese instrument that had gone extinct since McPhee’s fieldwork in the 1930s) inspired a repatriation project and a forthcoming essay in an edited collection under contract with University of Illinois Press; other materials housed in the Archive allowed me to build a relationship with musicians in a Balinese village that led to an award-winning article in the journal Ethnomusicology. Processing collections as a GSR, furthermore, gave me a behind-the-scenes look at the largely unappreciated work necessary to preserve such valuable materials. Calling it “work,” however, misses the exhilarating feeling of regularly handling materials that yielded crucial and unexpected insights into the histories of both Indonesian music and the field of ethnomusicology. This GSR assignment led to my participation in the Adam Matthew publication project. Beyond preparing the Hood materials for inclusion, I also contributed an essay on the collection and conducted an oral history with the master Javanese musician Bapak Djoko Walujo, which yielded important insights regarding a set of important field recordings Hood made in 1950s Java. Beyond these specific instances, I am more generally grateful to the archivists for showing me what it means to act responsibly towards musical communities and the audiovisual documentation of the traditions they maintain—something I try to model in all my work, whether or not it directly involves archival materials.


Wan Yeung

In a building with murals and posters that showcase mostly musical performances, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been where I am able to grow as a scholar and researcher. Their collections of Cantonese opera have been crucial to my dissertation project, but the skills I acquired from the Archive are also invaluable. Working there as a graduate student researcher, I learned to process and preserve various archival materials and manage metadata for audiovisual archives. Having taken courses on audiovisual archives and oral history with Maureen, I gained the knowledge to plan, conduct, and organize my fieldwork as a researcher. The Archive has also been instrumental to my teaching, as it serves as an excellent resource for students to understand the history of recording technologies with hands-on experience. In addition to these inestimable skills, I have also learned immensely from the expertise and professionalism of Maureen, who has been able to maintain the operation of the Archive as the sole archivist for almost a year now. With her enthusiasm and genuine care for students, she will always be the Librarian and Archivist of UCLA to me.


Xiaorong Yuan

I worked as a GSR in the Ethnomusicology Archive from 2018 to 2019, during which time the Archive went through a major renovation. I worked extensively with Professors Maureen Russell and Aaron Bittel, as well as other GSRs, in rearranging the huge number of materials, which included books, fieldwork notes, audio-visual materials, photos and films. I also had the chance to conduct hands-on digitization of these treasures, editing the narratives about the recordings based on my own language. This was a profound experience for me because I realized how much work needs to be done due to the cultural and linguistic differences when translating many non-English materials into English. The most impressive works are those by the great ethnomusicologists such as Professor Jacqueline DjeDje. I remember examining their fieldwork photos and other audio-visual materials for hours. It proved helpful in understanding what I should do to conduct my own fieldwork.

During that time, I also took a class with Professors Maureen Russell and Aaron Bittel. Thanks to that class, I came to understand more about how to work in an archive and developed a basic knowledge of cataloguing materials. This proved very helpful, since ethnomusicological fieldwork needs a thorough organization of its photos, field notes, and audio-visual materials. While working with many under-represented musicians in countries outside America, I’ve found my archive experience incredibly important in helping them building their own community memories. When I shared my experience in the UCLA archives with these artists, they become quite excited and appreciative knowing that UCLA, one of the best schools in the world, is doing something to provide a way to preserve their own cultural heritage.




The contributors in this section did not receive their degrees from UCLA.


Christopher Adler

Professor of Music and Director of Asian Studies, University of San Diego

Composer and performer

The Ethnomusicology Archive has played a role in building and promoting living musical culture, and I am grateful to have received support to present my cross-cultural work with the Lao/Northeast Thai khaen along with guest artists in a public Archive event. The documentation of the event is kept within the Archive and becomes a reliable means by which contemporary work can be documented and safely kept. In addition, I experienced first hand the joy of young and old Thai musicians in receiving the repatriated contents of the David Morton collection, newly digitized by the archive. In this case, the Archive had not only safeguarded materials that were otherwise inaccessible in Thailand, but worked to make them available in a way that moved deftly across local politics and rivalries that can result in traditional knowledge being guarded and inaccessible.


Supeena Insee Adler 

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology 

Curator of the World Musical Instrument Collection

Director, Music of Thailand Ensemble

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

I had heard about the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive for a long time. In 2014, I had a chance to visit the archive in person. With help from the archivists, I was able to view a brief video of Dr. David Morton and his ensemble playing traditional Thai musical instruments. That short trip inspired many subsequent projects for me, involving many other musicians and scholars in the US and Thailand. I soon learned about the 111 reels of Thai traditional music recorded in Thailand by Morton in 1959 and 1969, which had been safely kept, and I requested digitization so that we could repatriate them to Thailand, which we did in 2016. This occasion provided many great opportunities and resources for Thai musicians and scholars interested in the music of Thailand. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has a skilled staff who make it possible. It is imperative to have an archive that houses many valuable music resources worldwide and that people can access globally. I thank everyone who has contributed to the archive. You are making history! 


Michael Berry

Director, UCLA Center for Chinese Studies

Professor of Contemporary Chinese Studies

UCLA Department of Asian Languages and Cultures / UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media

I am writing to express my strong support and celebrate the achievements of the Ethnomusicology Archive at UCLA on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. The archive is truly one of UCLA’s hidden gems. As the largest collection of its kind outside the Library of Congress, it is an invaluable resource for students and scholars conducting research on various aspects of music, ethnomusicology, and cultural studies, and cultural history. In the area of Chinese music, the archive is particularly strong, with holdings in a variety of different formats (CDs, cassettes, LPs, etc.) ranging from Cantonese opera recordings of the 1930s to mando-pop cassettes from the 1980s. This body of material has proved important for students and researchers in their teaching, research projects, and public outreach. In a recent external grant proposal, I highlighted the archive as an invaluable resource for tracing the evolution of Chinese popular music. For years I have taught a module on Chinese popular music in my Chinese Pop Music course and regularly recommend the archive to my students. As the archive celebrates 60 years, I hope this institution will be able to continue receiving robust support from the university to ensure its future evolution through digitization, outreach, and further expansion. 


Tara Browner

Professor of Ethnomusicology, UCLA

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been integral to both my research and teaching missions since I joined the faculty in 1995. I used the Willard Rhodes collection extensively as part of the research for my transcription volume in the Music in the United States of America (MUSA) series to historicize my Pawnee materials, and assist with translations. As far as teaching, for years I have assigned each graduate student in my ethnomusicology research methods and transcription seminar a collection “box” to assess and present to the class, based upon that student’s research interests. A number of our students over the years have gone into archiving and librarianship as a career, and for most, the Ethnomusicology Archive was their first experience in that environment. Finally, while I enjoy the UCLA Music Library and appreciate their staff, the facility is really set up for musicologists and music students, and simply doesn’t have the kinds of resources a specialized ethnomusicology program needs.


Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, Department of Ethnomusicology, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Co-founder and Proprietor, Apsara Media for Intercultural Education

UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive has been of immense importance in my research in the United States and India, as it was for my late husband’s (distinguished UCLA Professor Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy’s) research in India. While conducting my dissertation research in South India, audio and video documentation were essential tools for my research and subsequent publications, including several published educational films, now distributed by Alexander Street Press, frequently used in educational settings. While working with refugees from Laos and Cambodia after the Vietnam War, I created video documentation that has been archived at UCLA for posterity and for the benefit of current scholars and culture bearers. Two films and many print publications resulted from those recordings, for which California Revealed has been an important tool for communicating with those Lao Hmong and Cambodian culture-bearers and their descendants. Subsequent research in India, in collaboration with Professor Jairazbhoy until his passing in 2009, could not have been accomplished without the essential participation of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. These efforts also led to several published educational films and many print publications that have received international recognition. In each case, the assistance of the Ethnomusicology Archive archivists and staff was indispensable for countless procedures that were necessary. Our first such film-monograph, Bake Restudy 1984, received an award from the Society for Visual Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association.

Many of those invaluable field materials await digitization, not to mention Professor Jairazbhoy’s earlier audio documentation and research in Pakistan and North India beginning in 1954, which desperately need to be preserved and digitized. For all this media, he founded a “shadow archive” in India in 1984 called the Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE), a unit of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), for his materials as well as for those of his dissertation advisor and faculty colleague at SOAS, A. A. Baké. Without UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archivist at that time, the process could not have been completed, because all his and Baké’s recordings at UCLA needed to be transferred physically to India in analog form, and duplicated for use in our field research which resulted in the above film-monograph, the first in ethnomusicology. That archive is still going strong with its outreach programs, archiving and preservation activities, including digitization, and original research projects. I must praise the work of UCLA’s current Ethnomusicology Archivist, Professor Maureen Russell, for her dedication and professionalism, without which the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive could not continue to set an example for all ethnomusicology archives around the world.


Lothar von Falkenhausen

Professor of Chinese Art and Art History, UCLA

Member of Cultural Property Advisory Committee, U.S. Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs

The Ethnomusicology Archive is one of UCLA’s hidden treasures. Here students and scholars may immerse themselves in diverse sonic worlds, broadening their aural range, sensitizing themselves to unfamiliar tonal nuances, and finding inspiration for new and unprecedented musical creations. It is gratifying to learn that, through the use of modern digital technologies, the Archive’s priceless collections are gradually being made accessible to the wider community outside UCLA. Congratulations on this auspicious anniversary, and my best wishes for the next Sixty-Year Cycle!


Nancy Guy

Professor of Music, UC San Diego

Hearty congratulations on the 60th anniversary of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive! UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive is one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of traditional music recordings and the fieldnotes written by generations of researchers. The archive is without question the jewel in the crown not only of the Department of Ethnomusicology but also of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Ask anyone overseas about UCLA and its music program, and the first thing they are likely to mention is the renowned UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. It brings the School of Music an international profile it otherwise lacks, and deserves to be a top priority for the university.

I was glad to see this premier status underlined by former Dean Judith Smith, who masterminded the remodel in 2019 to create the custom-designed, welcoming, professional space that now exists. This redesigned space should take the Archive comfortably into its next 60 years. I’m truly impressed by the way the Department of Ethnomusicology integrates the Archive into so many aspects of its teaching—with the archivists teaching classes as well as hosting student visits, training GSRs in collections processing, and helping graduate students locate collections in the Archive that are relevant to their interests. I remember an excellent conference paper presented by a UCLA graduate student whose entire project was jumpstarted by marginalia he found in 1930s fieldnotes deposited in the Archive. I understand that paper has now been developed into an essay that will shortly be published in an edited volume from a major university press. This is the type of asset other ethnomusicology programs can only dream of.

Equally impressive is the astounding level of community engagement the Archive undertakes. With virtually all its California collections now publicly accessible (or soon to be so) on the online site California Revealed, hundreds more recordings accessible on the Internet Archive, and the publication of 60 field collections in the massive project Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has made thousands of its materials available to students, scholars, and community members at home and abroad. Having myself published a landmark essay on the appropriation of Taiwanese Aboriginal music by a commercial pop artist, I’m especially impressed by the effort that the Archive has put in to repatriating recordings to their communities of origin, whether in the US or overseas, and even to remote villages. The Archive’s multiple projects over the last twenty years with local African American and Filipino American communities are equally impressive. The Herb Alpert School of Music has no better demonstration of its commitment to EDI than the work of the Ethnomusicology Archive.

I learned recently that the crucial post of preservation and digitization archivist has lain vacant for over six months. One can only wonder why the current administration has not pushed for the post to be filled urgently. The School of Music, and the entire university, is sitting on a world-renowned gem. We in the field of ethnomusicology are watching and expecting to see the Archive supported as it deserves to be.


Edward Herbst, Ph.D.

Project Director, Principal Researcher and Writer

Bali 1928 Restoration, Research and Repatriation Project 

Library of Congress-to-Bali Repatriation Project

From a Balinese perspective, the uniqueness of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive is exemplified by kebetulan “synchronicity” in the creation of the Archive and Colin McPhee’s joining the faculty from 1960 to ‘63. Piano virtuoso and composer, lured to Bali by the 1928 Odeon recordings two years after their release and just seven years after Jaap Kunst’s first Bali visit, McPhee proved to be a skillful filmmaker and gifted photographer (as will be evidenced in upcoming publications), bringing his aesthetic sensibilities to visual documentation—and immediately redefining himself as a pioneer of ethnomusicology and visual anthropology on the island that Princeton’s James Boon has likened to “anthropology’s Shakespeare.” McPhee’s collection of rare Odeon-Beka 78s and his own photos, films, field notes, personal papers and correspondence became seminal materials in the nascent UCLA Archive—and subsequently, the most essential resource for our intensely collaborative and ongoing 23-year Bali 1928 Repatriation Project, with Balinese colleagues joining in field research, translation of song texts, video editing, publishing, and wide dissemination, including well over one hundred public presentations in villages, arts institutes, universities, and galleries throughout Bali, Indonesia, and internationally. The UCLA Archive continues to be a unique partner for this repatriation project, and amazingly, in 2007, allowed us to borrow a great many of those irreplaceable 78 rpm discs, enabling Arbiter of Cultural Traditions’ Allan Evans to make audio transfers in New York, utilizing his state-of-the-art digital restoration Sonic Depth Technology—optimizing the cultural legacy for future generations of Indonesians and listeners worldwide. On behalf of Arsip Bali 1928 in Denpasar, the STIKOM-Bali Institute, cultural descendants, Indonesian artists and academics, we congratulate the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive on this 60th Anniversary.


Daniel Ho

6-time Grammy-winning composer/musician/producer, Los Angeles

As a composer and musician active in world music and cultures, being included in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive Contemporary Composer Series is both a gift and an honor. It allows my repertoire to be represented by a prestigious institution alongside carefully curated works. Paired with the Zoom discussion that followed our 2021 event, it also ensures that performances and the sentiments they embody can live on and provide insight for someone who may be exploring themes in global music in the future. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is a lifeline of relevance, and I am eternally grateful to be a small fiber woven into its mission of connectedness.


Susan Pertel Jain

Director of Global Partnerships & Cultural Initiatives

UCLA Anderson School of Management

Center for Media, Entertainment, and Sports

Congratulations to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive on its 60th birthday! With the establishment of the Herb Alpert School of Music (HASOM), UCLA shouted to the world that music plays an integral role in our world—culturally and economically—and that it deserves a dedicated spot in America’s #1 public research university. Alongside UCLA’s Film & Television Archive (the 2nd largest moving image archive after the Library of Congress), the Ethnomusicology Archive (the nation’s 2nd largest audiovisual ethnographic archive of the world’s music, after the Library of Congress) is a treasure and a key asset to students, scholars, and our global community. With the imminent launch of new HASOM major, one that is focused on the music industry, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive will provide an invaluable resource for students, a place where they not only learn about the styles, performers, and contexts where music-making has taken place around the world, but also how these sounds were captured and shared. Moving forward, I hope support for the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive only increases so that this invaluable educational resource can be made available to more of our community, and its stellar community outreach initiatives can be broadened still further. As a global hub of arts, entertainment, culture, and business, Los Angeles deserves a world-class archive that preserves and celebrates one of humanity’s most important modes of communication.


Mark Kligman

Mickey Katz Endowed Chair in Jewish Music 

Professor of Ethnomusicology and Musicology 

Director, Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience

UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

The Ethnomusicology Archive is a very important component of the Department of Ethnomusicology and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. The Archive’s holdings support the academic mission of the Department with unique materials from around the world. Many of the recordings are one-of-a-kind exemplars of culture from leading scholars over decades. As faculty in the Department we use these recordings in our courses; in addition to the recordings, students are guided to use the field notes, photographs, and ephemera within the Archive to enrich their learning. Many class assignments draw from the Archive, and students’ results contribute to a further understanding of world music. Our unique undergraduate and graduate programs allow students to explore music and culture firsthand with leading experts, to which the Archive is key.

For me as former Chair of the Department of Ethnomusicology, the “Publishing the Archive—Ethnomusicology Archive/Adam Matthew Digital Project” of 2019 was a highlight, sharing this resource beyond UCLA. The work involved to create this resource was a unique opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to showcase our holdings in new ways. Working with a professional digital publisher allowed us to experience and explore new possibilities. 

As Director of the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience, I am constantly contacted for donations of Jewish music materials. The professional staff of the Archive has made it possible for me to collect needed materials for the growth of the work of our Center. The archivists are astutely guiding the preservation of these materials, which supports the mission of the Center. 

The Ethnomusicology Archive is a resource vital to students’ learning, faculty research, and the growth of our School. Any weakening of this resource will have detrimental effects on all of our work, the academic community, and the reputation of the School as a leading institution. 


Katherine In-Young Lee

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology

UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

During the pandemic, I curated an oral history project that amplified the voices of Asian and Asian American musicians. The oral histories were conducted on Zoom by undergraduate ethnomusicology and global jazz studies majors in my Musics of Asia course (Ethnomusicology 20C) in Fall 2020 and Fall 2021. During the pandemic, I began to actively think of ways to facilitate points of connection between students and musicians. For this project, I partnered with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, and the Archive provided crucial help along the way. Archivist Maureen Russell gave a guest lecture that instructed the students on some of the best practices for conducting remote interviews, and former archivist Yuriko Shimoda was instrumental in efficiently processing the metadata and uploading the materials to and the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. I decided to run the project a second time last fall, and again, the Archive was an important partner in stewarding the interviews for preservation and access. (I’d like to thank David Martinelli and Maureen Russell for helping with the projects from Fall 2021.) 

I am pleased to see and hear the oral histories of several esteemed Asian musicians now on Several students have reported to me that they are very proud of their work in the oral history project. And several musicians have expressed that they were impressed with the students and their professionalism.  View the oral histories on the Internet Archive, here.


Carleton Macy

Composer and Professor Emeritus of Music, Macalester College

I want to praise the work being done by the UCLA Ethnomusicological Archive. When my wife, Julia McLean, and I were looking for a place to house an amazing collection of personal recordings of Navajo “Sings” and celebrations, made by my father-in-law, Ralph McLean, the Ethno Archive at UCLA was an immediate first choice. These recordings were made with permission of the Navajo families involved during a number of extended visits over a period of 20+ years. Such recordings are very unusual indeed. As a music professor, I understand the need for such resources for all kinds of research. In addition, the presence of an audio archivist was essential since the recordings were all made with a reel-to-reel portable tape recorder that most certainly had a limited worthwhile shelf-life; digitalization was essential to the preservation of this unusual archive.


Anna Morcom

Mohindar Brar Sambhi Chair of Indian Music and Director of Graduate Studies, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology

Our Ethnomusicology Archive is one of the pillars of the Department of Ethnomusicology. The international stature of this archive is one of the things that marks our status as a world-leading center for the study of ethnomusicology and a pivotal part of its history. I am currently Director of Graduate Studies and work with students getting training via GSRships with the archive (which are always over-subscribed), which has in several cases led to careers in or related to archiving. This experience, and the high-level guidance they receive from the archive staff, also feeds directly into their research. Documentation from contemporary research, research on existing collections, and projects of rematriation are all important areas of ethnomusicology that we are able to be a leading center of. The senior archivist, Maureen Russell, does guest lectures in several courses, such as the Ethnomusicology Methods (core grad course), which I taught one year. It was a superb presentation which I learned a lot from and inspired the students to incorporate archival research into their projects, enriching them significantly. The crucial importance of the Archive to the teaching mission of the university is also shown in the archivists’ teaching of the annual course on audio-visual archiving, which is always a favourite with ethnomusicology, music industry, and IS students. I see the archive involved in many incredibly impressive projects, connecting with local communities and those further afield; they are a high-functioning part of the department and a key part of our energy and drive. I am really proud to be a part of this historic department. We are almost unique in terms of the concentration of ethnomusicology faculty and world music ensembles, and certainly unique in terms of having such a large and important archive.


Daniel M. Neuman

Professor Emeritus

UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Emeritus

With the ease and ubiquity of digitally recorded media of all kinds today, it is perhaps understandable that people forget the great value of older recordings of sound around the world, made through an analogue modality, and at a time when global exchanges were still a rarity. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was established over six decades ago with the prescient understanding that recordings from the 1960s on, especially of music from around the world, would be invaluable for research, critical for teaching, and irreplaceable as sound documentation.

A single example may suffice to show how foundational this archive has been in its impact felt around the world. In 1982, Professor Nazir Jairazbhoy, who joined the UCLA faculty in the 1970s, inspired by the UCLA Archive, established the Archive and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology (ARCE) in India. His intent was to return recordings that had been made by foreign scholars over the years. Not only is the ARCE now celebrating their own 40-year anniversary, but their Director, Dr. Shubha Chaudhuri, has spent the last 30-plus years helping to establish archives across Asia and Africa.

One other example may demonstrate how the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has had a profound impact in teaching. A student in the early 2000s, Nicholas Bergh, through his close work with the Archive, is now the pre-eminent inventor of instruments dedicated to abstracting the best possible sound from older recording formats such as wax cylinders and wire recordings as well as newer analogue film audio formats for which he is regularly hired in the film industry. He has successfully restored multiple ethnographic as well as commercial films, in addition to his work with older audio recording formats going back to the earliest sound recordings at the end of the 19th century. His company can be found at .

For all of this, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive deserves the greatest congratulations as it finished its first six decades of work. This Archive should be considered one of UCLA’s crown jewels, an institution about which this great university can be very proud.


Dr. Liz Przybylski

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Riverside

I write with appreciation for the work of the Ethnomusicology Archive. When I was asked to give a talk at UCLA in the spring of 2020, ethnographers were very concerned about how we could continue to do research during a global pandemic. The talk I shared directly addressed challenges and possibilities in online and hybrid research. Hybrid and online research strategies need to contend with asynchronous participation, as well as geographic distance and time zone challenges. The Ethnomusicology Archive helped my presentation and its audience with these challenges: the talk was recorded and uploaded to the archive, so that listeners could access it when they were able to do so. Additionally, I received requests after the fact from scholars who wanted to know more about hybrid research in a challenging time. I was grateful to be able to direct them to the Ethnomusicology Archive so they could access this talk, among other resources.

Please feel free to share this to speak to the support that there is for the Ethnomusicology Archive, as well as appreciation for its work!


Helen Rees

Professor and Director of the World Music Center, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology

Even when I was an undergraduate at Oxford University in 1980s England, I knew of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. Already at that point, for a British student who could not then imagine ever travelling to the United States, let alone making a career here, the Archive occupied my imagination as a mythical treasure-house of thousands of recordings of world musics that in those pre-internet days one could only dream of hearing. Ten years later, the presence of the Archive was a major factor in UCLA becoming my job of choice, and it more than anything else at UCLA has developed my understanding of the need for long-term thinking and planning in the field of ethnomusicology, and of ways one can responsibly serve the communities with whom one works. The Archive assiduously educates everyone who is willing to learn—students, faculty, staff, community members, visiting scholars and musicians—in the principles and practices of long-term preservation, not only of often fragile historical recordings but also of those made in evanescent digital formats; in the ethics of interaction with originating communities, and the imperative to return copies of historically significant recordings to those communities and families whose members and forebears were recorded; in the integration of archival collections into research and teaching; and in ways to serve and work with local communities. Many of our students have found their dissertation or other major research topic through working in the Archive as a graduate student researcher, or as part of a class assignment; indeed, one of my advisees has just (April 2022) had such an essay accepted for publication in a landmark edited collection on musical instruments, after noting intriguing information pencilled into a set of 1930s field notes held in the Archive. The integration of the Archive into the teaching of the Department of Ethnomusicology is unique, as far as I am aware: in addition to classes making fieldtrips to the Archive, the archivists giving guest lectures in classes, and students using the collections for class assignments, the archivists themselves teach a popular annual class, open to graduate and undergraduate students, on audiovisual archiving, and other classes on oral history and bibliography/research skills. Graduate students are eager to undertake jobs as graduate student researchers (GSRs), in which they learn about collections processing and preservation, taking on real-world tasks. Many students have gone on to careers in information science and archiving after working in the Archive—including the current University Archivist at UC Davis and the recently retired Head of Processing at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

As the current director of the World Music Center in the Department of Ethnomusicology, I am now involved in the Archive’s projects on a weekly basis. The sheer imagination behind, and pioneering nature of, recent successes is stunning—for example, the online publication of 60 field collections (most from UCLA, some from UW Seattle) as the award-winning Ethnomusicology: Global Field Collections (2019), which makes thousands of audio recordings, videos, photos, and paper documents available to tens of thousands of users; the placing of all our California holdings that can ethically and legally be made public on the open-access California Revealed website (ongoing since 2013); and the partnership with Filipina/o American arts collective Ube Arte to produce a 400-page open-access online resource book (2020) that has already (as of April 2022) been downloaded over 4,000 times; and so much more. Exciting California collections continue to come in: the huge collection of African American music legend Bette Yarbrough Cox, the audiovisual legacy of kulintang great Danny Kalanduyan and taiko master Reverend Tom Kurai, and recently several major Jewish collections. It is amazing that just two professional archivists are able to mastermind all this; but we desperately need our digitization and preservation archivist post back, since for much of the last three years Maureen Russell has been having to cover two people’s work, and any audiovisual archive needs a digitization/preservation specialist in this 21st century environment.

My own research has also benefited greatly from the Archive, notably my work since 2015 on the instruments of UCLA’s renowned World Musical Instrument Collection, which has depended to a substantial degree on documents held by the Archive. The archivists have been a joy to collaborate with—always professional, always helpful, and key to making the Archive an intellectual and social center of the entire department, and a welcoming home for visitors. My thanks to all the archivists I’ve had the privilege of working with since my arrival in the late 1990s: Aaron Bittel, Maureen Russell, Yuri Shimoda, Louise Spear, and John Vallier. And to our magnificent recording technician, David Martinelli, whose retirement in June 2022 will leave us much the poorer: his decades of experience and dedication have underpinned many of our achievements. UCLA is sitting on one of the major national repositories of aural heritage, which has inspired and influenced the establishment and/or management of similar archives in China, India, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Thailand, as well as other places in the United States. The six-figure renovation over 2018–2019 has provided a custom-designed facility that should see the Ethnomusicology Archive in good physical shape for some decades to come. I appreciate the foresight shown by former School of Music Director Daniel Neuman and former School of Music Dean Judith Smith for this expression of their confidence in our future, and their strong belief in the long-term value of the Ethnomusicology Archive to the university and the wider world.


Timothy Rice

UCLA Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, of Ethnomusicology

Founding Director of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and Associate Dean, UCLA School of Arts and Architecture

President, Center for World Music, San Diego, California

President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, 2003–2005

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive supports student and faculty researchers not only from UCLA but from all across the country and the world. As one of the two largest university-based sound archives in the U.S., with a collection of recordings made and compiled by pioneering ethnomusicologists over the last 75 years, its holdings are regularly studied by scholars from around the world seeking to reconstruct the modern history of musical traditions created in sound rather than in notated scores. Every summer for many decades the Archive has played host to scholars seeking knowledge available only in this particular collection. One external measure of the Archive’s national significance was a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) during the late 1990s to begin the digitization and preservation of its endangered analog field recordings, the first grant they ever gave for preservation of sound and a testament to the national importance and uniqueness of the Archive’s collection.

Ethnomusicologists who have deposited their sound recordings in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive are in the business of documenting in sound and word musical traditions at home and abroad that are the products and representatives of communities defined by ethnicity, race, nationality, and religion. Unsupported by the commercial music industry, as classical and popular music and jazz are, these community-based musical traditions, which are central to the cultural life of Los Angeles, California, the United States, and indeed other countries, need institutions like the Archive to preserve their history and heritage. As the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music engages with its mission and vision of inclusion, diversity, and service to the state of California, a well-supported, high-functioning Ethnomusicology Archive can play a pivotal role in “creating musical community” representative of all the people of the state and worthy of a great public university.


Huib Schippers

Former Director and Curator, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Former Dean, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Former Director and co-owner, Musiques du Monde Records, Amsterdam, Netherlands

As former Director/Curator of Smithsonian Folkways and invited guest speaker at UCLA, I have come to appreciate the depth and quality of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, with over 60 years of invaluable materials for scholars and the community. I have been greatly impressed with how it has been managed on a very limited budget, and has greatly contributed to the reputation of UCLA as a global reference for our discipline. 


Anthony Seeger

Distinguished Professor of Ethnomusicology Emeritus, UCLA

Curator and Director Emeritus, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, 1991–1993

Former President of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM)

Former Secretary General of the ICTM

Founding Co-Chair of the Research Archive Committee of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA)

Because of its unique location in a major research university, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is able to support research by making its collections available to students, scholars, and members of communities whose recordings it holds, to train students in audiovisual archiving, to digitize thousands of unique but rapidly deteriorating recordings, and to contribute to national and international debate and training about the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage through the engagement of its experienced staff in national and international professional organizations.

While it serves students, researchers, and the general public from its handsome new facilities at UCLA, the Ethnomusicology Archive also contributes to research by making copies of some of its unique collections available in the countries where they were originally recorded so they can be of assistance to groups trying to safeguard valued performing arts traditions. The highly trained staff have also been active in both national and international professional organizations, where their experience contributes in important ways to a worldwide attempt to safeguard the unique and valuable audiovisual tape recordings that are rapidly deteriorating and may well be lost completely without a large and coordinated effort to transfer them to digital media.

On the 60th anniversary of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive its contribution to UCLA are more important than ever. Today, almost everyone in the world is a collector, storing vast numbers of recordings on their mobile phones, computers, and in human memory. But very few of these collectors, and even fewer social media sites, have enough forethought and training in archiving for their collections to be useful to others in the future. When everyone is a collector, archives and training in organizing data and the ethics of recording and preservation should be at the center of education at all levels. In this environment, the systematic methods, instructional outreach, and research roles of the Ethnomusicology archives are more important than ever to the future of the arts and the understanding of music in the lives of humans everywhere.


Peter Sellars
Distinguished Professor, UCLA World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Director, Boethius Initiative
Opera, film, theater, and festival director
Congratulations on the 60th anniversary of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. It is a crucial resource in a time when cultural pluralism is at a premium.  You have so many underrepresented voices stored in your priceless vault. The world needs to hear from these brilliant and profound people, traditions, and parts of the world. Thank you for keeping this human and cultural treasure alive and urgently flourishing.


Kay Kaufman Shelemay

G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Former President of the Society for Ethnomusicology

I extend hearty congratulations to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive on its 60th anniversary!  For those of us active in ethnomusicology today, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been throughout our careers a leader in national and international efforts to document and honor the diverse musical traditions in the world around us. A great deal of thoughtful work and consideration of fast-changing conditions under which music is made and transmitted has informed the collection at UCLA.  Its leaders have demonstrated extraordinary initiative in collecting precious materials, collaborating with the communities from which these materials come, and in general leading the way in ethical and technological leadership in the archival domain. I send best wishes for the continued work and welfare of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive for the future.


Henry Spiller

Professor of Music (Ethnomusicology), University of California, Davis

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, UCLA pioneered a uniquely American approach to ethnomusicology—UCLA showed the rest of the world how to creatively combine ethnographic fieldwork, library and archival research, and musical analysis to discern novel and profound insights into the significance of music in human lives. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive continues to be a principal source of information for ethnomusicologists in this UCLA-inspired tradition throughout the world. Through their careful preservation and curation of many researchers’ ethnographic records, the Archive facilitates the reevaluation and reinterpretation of the many valuable records they hold. I know from my own experiences that the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive staff makes accessing these valuable collections in person not only easy, but pleasant as well. Their efforts to make materials available virtually, via the internet, are even more crucial for perpetuating UCLA’s influential standing in the global ethnomusicology community. The Archive’s virtual resources empower the world’s ethnomusicologists, no matter what their material circumstances, to gain access to the materials they need to do important work. As I consider where to deposit my own field materials for posterity, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive remains at the top of my list.


Timothy D. Taylor

Professor, Department of Ethnomusicology, UCLA

The Ethnomusicology Archive in the Herb Alpert School of Music is an absolutely vital resource, the core of the department’s teaching and research mission. The archive has been used as a research tool by countless students, faculty, and visitors for decades. And it serves as the repository for faculty and graduate students’ historical, oral-historical, and ethnographic research that serves our community and communities around the world. In 2012, I published an award-winning book, The Sounds of Capitalism: Music, Advertising, and the Conquest of Culture, the first-ever history of advertising music in the US. This book was based in part on dozens of interviews with advertising music practitioners, some of whom were pioneers in the field. I have donated all of the audio materials and interview transcriptions to the archive. For the last decade, I have been involved in writing a history of music workers in film and television. I have held over 40 interviews thus far, including with some luminaries such as Lalo Schifrin. When this project is complete, I will donate all audio and transcriptions to the archive. But my donations will form only a small part of an extraordinary resource that defines the Department of Ethnomusicology, and the Herb Alpert School of Music, as a center of music scholarship and as a keeper of countless musical traditions, near and far.



Xiaoshan (Ilsa) Yin

Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology, School of Music, University of Maryland, College Park

I met and talked with a Graduate Student Researcher when I visited the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. She is super enthusiastic about what she does in the archive and says she has learnt a lot from working there. She showed me a collection of recordings of Peking opera masters from a hundred years ago, which was amazing. She was making an index of those, among other recordings, on the computer. One thing that music scholars and musicians all wish they could have access to are recordings of earlier music, but unfortunately there were none until the invention of the phonograph, and not many for decades after that. An archive is extremely valuable in keeping such records for scholars and musicians today and those to come. More significantly, these early recordings need to be digitized, otherwise they will soon disappear! In every respect, the Ethnomusicology Archive of the Department of Ethnomusicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is doing an incomparably significant job!



Bell Yung

Professor Emeritus of Music, University of Pittsburgh

Affliliated Professor of Music, University of Washington

The Ethnomusicology Archive of UCLA serves the all-important role of providing a safe and secure repository for unique primary source materials that require special handling, which

libraries are not normally equipped to do. A few years ago I was gratified that my donation of a number of LP records of traditional Chinese music produced many decades ago was accepted by the Archive. A more serious concern that has been troubling me has been over what I should do with a very valuable set of recordings contained in the forty-plus hours of original magnetic tapes from fieldwork I conducted nearly fifty years ago. These were recordings of songs once popular in Southern China but no longer performed; no recordings existed before my collection, and none have been made since. While these tapes have been digitized, with copies of them in the form of compact discs being deposited and catalogued in two music libraries, the original magnetic tapes need to be safely housed in an archive, one that has the space, resources, and archival expertise to ensure their being well taken care of. Most importantly, the archive must have institutional support to ensure its sustainable and long-term existence. Among these tapes, I am particularly concerned with one song, since I promised the singer that it would receive only restricted access, and therefore has not been digitized or catalogued.

I was fortunate that these concerns of mine received expert advice from Maureen Russell of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive, who spent an hour to generously advise me with her expertise. I am grateful to Maureen, to the Archive, and to UCLA, and hope that the university will continue its institutional support to the Archive for the next 60 years.





The contributors in this section did not receive their degrees from UCLA.


Clare Suet Ching Chan, Ph.D.

Visiting Associate Researcher at UCLA (1 April 2019–31 December 2019)

Associate Professor in Ethnomusicology, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

Former Chief Editor, Malaysian Journal of Music

When I did my sabbatical in UCLA from 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was my home and hang-out place. It was where I found warm and friendly people; consequently, I began to learn about what an archive does. When I saw many people gathering for an activity at the archive, I would pop in with curiosity to find out what activity an archive hosts. I realized the importance of recording the voices of musical experts from the community and storing them safely in the archives. I also saw students working hard behind a desktop and asked them what they were busy doing. I learned a little about archival software. I think I was probably more drawn to the people working in the archives—those who had much passion for recording, documenting and archiving the world’s musical heritage. This energy and passion was quite “infectious” as I came home to Malaysia with inspiration to assist in developing this area in my country.


Shubha Chaudhuri

Director, Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology, Gurgaon, India

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been a collaborator and partner for the ARCE (Archives and Research Centre for Ethnomusicology, American Institute of Indian Studies) since its inception. The first links were forged due to the fact that Prof. Nazir Jairazbhoy, the founder of ARCE, was from the UCLA Ethnomusicology Department. We shared collections such as his own and that of Arnold Bake that was in his possession. Through the years, many students from the UCLA Ethnomusicology program who were working in India deposited their collections in both archives.

Shubha Chaudhuri as Director of ARCE first visited the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archives in 1985, meeting the well-known archivist Ann Briegleb as well as Louise Spear, who was there at the time. This was to consult for setting up systems at the relatively new ARCE. That was the first of many such visits. We have been colleagues in the IASA (International Association of Sound and Audio Visual Archives) Research Archives Section.

The most recent collaboration between ARCE and the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was the repatriation of Peter Crossley Holland’s Ladakh recordings to India. These are deposited in ARCE as well as in Ladakh. The fact that three of the Chairs of the ARCE Advisory Committee—Nazir Jairazbhoy, Daniel Neuman and Anthony Seeger—were from the UCLA Ethnomusicology Department kept up the relationship between our archives, and it is a relationship that we deeply treasure.


HE Jinhua

Naxi folksinger, National First-level Performer, Yulong County Song and Dance Troupe, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, China

Gold medallist, 2010 China Arts Festival

Visiting artist, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology, November 2018 (worked with Archive on metadata for Norman Track Collection of Naxi folk music, and on repatriating a digital copy of the collection to Lijiang)

Greetings from He Jinhua, Naxi folksinger! On the occasion of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive’s 60th anniversary, I am honored to offer sincere congratulations from far-away Lijiang. Thank you very much for your professional work, and thank you for your outstanding contributions in protecting and developing the artistic culture of the world. I was fortunate to meet you, and remember fondly the days we spent working together. I wish you every success in your work, and hope that your research will continue to be influential in the preservation of different cultures of the world. Congratulations again!


Margaret Kartomi

Professor Emerita, Ethnomusicology

Director, Music Archive of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

I visited the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive in 1987, and had very informative and useful discussions about archival management and cataloguing with the archival staff who showed me around their holdings. I also had very useful discussions with David Morton about our mutual Thai music collections, with Nazir Jairazbhoy about our mutual interest in organology and classification of musical instruments, and with several other ethnomusicologists at UCLA. I have been following the progress of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive over the decades. For my book on MAMU’s Gamelan Digul I obtained Mantle Hood’s rebab recordings that are held in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.


Hee-sun Kim

Professor of Ethnomusicology, Kookmin University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Chair, Musics of East Asia Study Group of the International Council for Traditional Music

Former Director of Division of Music Research and Gugak Archive, Gugak Museum, at the National Gugak Center, Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Republic of Korea

As one of the world’s first ethnomusicology programs, UCLA early established its high reputation, and its contributions to the field paved the way for others to follow. The 60 years of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive demonstrate how vital field research is for ethnomusicological study. The Archive’s collections of audio, video, print, and various other rare documents and recordings related to music around the globe provide important source material for today’s music scholars, and its digitization projects help provide easy access for scholars around the world. UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive teaches us that remembering the music, musicians, and our music history is incalculably valuable as it becomes heritage for the world to share. Thank you for keeping the musical history of humanity.


Bernard Kleikamp

Founder and Proprietor, Pan Records, Leiden, The Netherlands

Congratulations on the 60th anniversary of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive! As the second-largest traditional music archive in the US, the Archive is doing important work in preserving, digitizing, and making unique fieldwork collections accessible, which is especially noteworthy at a time when many such institutions are coping with budget problems or are struggling to survive. I’m currently working with archivist Maureen Russell on the major West African collection of Cootje van Oven, for which I was the intermediary in its donation in 2021/22. Keep up the good work!


Frank Kouwenhoven

Director of CHIME, International Foundation for Chinese Music Research, Leiden, The Netherlands

As a long-time scholar of Chinese music and music archivist active in Europe and in the field in China and Taiwan since 1986, I am only too keenly aware of the tremendous importance of archival work in this realm, and how challenging it is to build up a collection of this size and scope. I am duly impressed by Maureen Russell and her colleagues at UCLA, and how they manage to make this vast amount of materials and data fully accessible. Chapeau, and let’s hope that this archive can continue to serve as a flagship and international model for traditional music archiving for a good long time!


Maria Christine Muyco, Ph.D.

Professor, Graduate Studies Programs, Director/Coordinator, University of the Philippines-College of Music, Quezon City, The Philippines

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive—including its excellent staff—enriched my development as a scholar. While taking Ethnomusicology courses at the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology during the 2006–2007 academic year, I had access to the Archive, including microfilms covering a range of Asian music. The Archive staff guided me through this process, from introducing me to the collection to giving me suggestions for searching the collection. They are awesome! Furthermore, they told me that items in the Archive are safe. The archive offers 24/7 security and exists inside of a steel-made storage unit; no fire or calamity would destroy these items. I kept these words in mind. When I visited the Archive in 2009, I gave the staff a copy of my documentary film, Ga Sibud Dai-A!, which documents the music and dancing of the indigenous highland people of Panay in the Visayas (Central Philippines) known as The Panay Bukidnon. I urge researchers from all over the world to avail themselves of the services of the Archive, which is the second largest ethnographic archive of traditional music in America. As good as it was then, and is now, it continues to grow; the collection continues to deepen. While I learned from some of the finest scholars in the field while at the Department of Ethnomusicology—Drs. Jacqueline Djedje, Anthony Seeger, Tim Rice, AJ Racy, Helen Rees, and Mary Talusan, as well as receiving support from administrative specialist Donna Armstrong—I also benefited immensely from working with the staff, reference librarians and archivists attached to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. All offered top-level professional expertise and helped to develop me as a scholar, which, in turn, better prepared me to mentor the students I work with in The Philippines. 


Anant Narkkong

Luang Pradit Phairoh Foundation, Bangkok, Thailand

Founder and Director, Korphai Ensemble, Bangkok

Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Composition, Silpakorn University, Bangkok

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is one of the greatest treasures of the world music empire. An invaluable treasure nestled in the heart of the academy that has long supported the world’s scholars of ethnic music, it is a unique facility that collects valuable music data, whether audiovisual recordings, music scores, or field notes from past music explorers. These treasures continue to shape conversations with future music researchers. Thank you to David Morton for the knowledge and profound love for Thai music he has taught me through his past field research (1950s and 1960s). And it has also inspired me to create a treasure like this as a gift to my homeland.


François Picard

Vice-président, Société française d’ethnomusicologie

Professeur d’ethnomusicologie, UFR de Musique et musicology, École doctorale Concepts et Langages, Faculté des Lettres, Sorbonne Université

Institut de Recherche en Musicologie, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France

As a professional ethnomusicologist interested in the continuity and mutations of cultural traditions, and as a musician and artistic director applying my modest talent to the celebration of traditional music, I am aware of the major transformation that has affected the transmission of music, about a millennium after the generalization of musical writing by Japanese envoys in China as a means of transmission: the transmission of music by means of sound recording. As soon as the technical possibility of recording sound was invented, sound archives were invented. I was even able to suggest ( that sound archives preceded the recording of music.

Sound archives are now at the center of my personal and collective daily practice of research, teaching, directing, playing. As part of various international networks of musical analysis, I contribute to the development of digital tools allowing the excavation of data, crossing scores, writings and digitized sounds.

For us in Europe working on East Asian materials, UCLA is one of the brightest stars shining a light on us, both in terms of content and method, with the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv and CREM/LESC (


QI Kun

Professor of Ethnomusicology, China Conservatory of Music, Beijing, China

As Jaap Kunst wrote in 1959, “Ethnomusicology could never have grown into an independent science if the gramophone had not been invented”; the important role audio-visual archives played in the development of the discipline is obvious to all. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, with 150,000 items, is the second largest AV archive in the US; it has been providing historical materials for traditional music researchers around the world, and also connecting and feeding back to the source communities in a variety of ways.

The diversity and accessibility of collections are important criteria for evaluating archives. Publication of Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings fully demonstrates the achievements of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive. The content included in this project offers a broad vision of traditional music spanning all continents: users can peruse and conduct research on field recordings ranging from Native American powwows, dance songs of the Ewe people of Ghana, gamelan from Indonesia, banana and bird songs from the Pacific Islands, Peking drum singing and Buddhist chant, to many other musical genres and locations. In addition to audio recordings, there are also a number of video recordings including field films and interviews within this resource, plus a number of field notebooks, journals, diaries and dissertations kept by ethnomusicologists from IFMC (International Folk Music Council) times or even earlier. Taking this project as an example, we can see that the Ethnomusicology Archive not only provides research materials for scholars, but also carries the memories of cultural communities and the history of the discipline’s development so far. Furthermore, the design of its digital platform is simple and convenient, allowing the users to browse by region, collection, and media type, or across all three. Most notably, the Ethnomusicology Archive has been making every effort to trace copyright holders in all sincerity and frankness, and is committed to repatriating the recordings included within this collection to the source communities who were involved in their creation. The ethical attitudes and practices of dealing with copyright and repatriation in this project should be respected and used for reference by all archives and archivists.

Almost 60 years ago, ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl wrote, “Archives are, in a sense, equivalent to libraries in other disciplines insofar as their importance in research is concerned.” After six decades of service and influence in this field, it can be said that whether for faculty members and students from UCLA or for researchers from outside the University, the significance of the Ethnomusicology Archive has gone beyond itself, it’s recognized locally and internationally as an academic center for ethnomusicological communities, as a dialogue platform for diverse cultural groups to retrieve their histories and memories, and as a new space for knowledge production and dissemination. It is unique and irreplaceable for all. Finally, I would like to extend my best wishes to the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive for its 60th anniversary!


Anthea Skinner

Research Archivist, Music Archive of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia


Bronia Kornhauser

Archivist, Music Archive of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive was one of the first institutions to enhance the parameters of ethnomusicological research by facilitating a hands-on facet to the discipline. This “learning by doing” approach was forged in the 1960s by Mantle Hood and developed to the extent that the Archive offers unique learning experiences through ensemble practice, festival participation, field work and organological investigation. For us at the Music Archive of Monash University (MAMU), the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive has been an inspiration for our own research and development activities. Our collection interests reflect similar geographical areas to yours, particularly those in Southeast Asia. No archive can possibly hope to cover the many and varied musical and cultural artefacts and recordings of a region as densely populated and with as many local variations of specific performance practices as Southeast Asia. As such, MAMU is pleased to be able to complement UCLA’s collection and sees enormous possibilities for collaboration in the future.

By its very nature, the UCLA Ethnomusicological Archive houses and safeguards materials of intangible cultural heritage. The contemporary and historical collections that it has amassed since the 1960s are unique expressions of the cultures from which they originated and are increasingly valuable because the Archive enables them to be accessed by future generations. Similarly, MAMU recognises the importance of conserving and preserving intangible cultural heritage, the importance of which was bought home to us in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, when we worked closely with local government and university organisations to repatriate copies of rare photographs and recordings of music and dance traditions at risk of extinction. Natural and man-made disasters have made archives like those at UCLA and MAMU vital to the preservation of communal cultural memory.


Enio de Souza

Retired from Centro Científico e Cultural de Macau, Lisbon, Portugal

I congratulate the UCLA Archive of Ethnomusicology on the celebration of its 60th anniversary. It is an institution with a long history that has contributed greatly to the study and investigation of sound art in diverse cultures, especially in the ethnomusicology field. In 2017, I had the privilege of visiting the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, which was a co-sponsor of the 20th International Conference of the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research. The display of archival materials, and the hands-on workshop on Chinese musical instruments it organized, made a deep impression. I hope that in the future I may have the opportunity to return to that “Cultural Pavilion.”


TAN Sooi Beng, Ph.D.

Professor, School of the Arts, University of Science, Penang, Malaysia

Vice-President, International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM)

Chair, ICTM Malaysia

The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is an invaluable resource with more than 150,000 audio-visual, print, and photographic items dating from the 1960s. The digitalization and preservation of fieldwork materials of past and present ethnomusicologists provide significant comparative data for students and other ethnographers around the world. I am particularly impressed with the documentation and archiving of the community outreach programs of the department for the past few decades that have been made accessible to the public. These include public talks from local and international speakers (including myself), as well as  folk festivals held at UCLA that feature religious or sacred music, bluegrass music, Yiddish folk songs, mandolin, Mexican and African American music and dance, Asian American music, and many more ( The California Filipino American music resource book published in collaboration with the Filipino American arts collective Ube Arte []) is a significant contribution to the community in the United States. As musical cultures are changing quickly, these community collections are important historical records for the future generations who might want to find out what the music of their forefathers was like. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive plays an important role in promoting cultural well-being and a sense of belonging among the diverse communities of California and other parts of the United States. It holds recorded cultural memories and histories of the different peoples and performers. Public access to these archival records will be at risk if funding for digitalization and dedicated staff is cut.


Janet Topp Fargion

Head of Sound and Vision, British Library, UK

As ethnomusicologists we all make recordings, which create invaluable documents of diverse human cultures over time. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive plays a crucial role in ensuring these documents are safeguarded and accessible for current and future researchers, and, importantly, for the communities whose cultures are represented in them.


Ying-fen Wang

Distinguished Professor, Graduate Institute of Musicology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

I truly appreciate the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive’s providing me with copies of unique historical documentation from Kurosawa Taketomo’s 1943 recordings of Taiwanese music, which helped lead to a landmark reissue of his historically crucial recordings. The Archive preserves many other important archival materials related to music of Taiwan, such as Fredric Lieberman’s and John Lenherr’s recordings from the 1960s. I also find the renowned Colin McPhee Collection from the 1930s incredibly valuable for specialists in Balinese music.



Professor of Ethnomusicology, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, China

Former Deputy Director of the Music Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Arts, Beijing, China

Former Executive Board member, International Council for Traditional Music

Sounds archived as “material culture” are not only “objects” kept in the archives, but also a bridge whereby we can explore both the relationships among the people behind the recordings and the relationship between humans and history. As a result, the archive itself holds the significance of a “historical site.” When we review the many ways that sounds have been recorded, and the usage and storage of those recordings, we begin to understand the nuances behind the developing concept of recording collections, and how they reflect trends in ethnomusicology from the late 19th century until now. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, founded and developed by generations of renowned ethnomusicologists and with extensive international partnerships, celebrates and commemorates its birthday as a walk through the corridors of history. We hope that it will continue to inspire us to listen to history and discover the present.


ZHANG Xingrong

Professor of Ethnomusicology (retired), Yunnan Arts University, Kunming, China

I have visited the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive twice, on my trips to the United States in 1999 and 2017, and was most impressed by the depth and breadth of their holdings, and their synergistic partnership with the World Musical Instrument Collection. In addition, Professor Rees and the archivists have given me encouragement and support in establishing my own “Yunnan Ethnic Music Archive Workshop” at home in China, which has received high praise from both domestic and foreign visitors.


The Archive re-opens after the big renovation: guest of honor Professor Emerita Jacqueline DjeDje (former Director of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive) in the front row, second from left, with alumnae/i, archivists, students, faculty, and other guests, January 2019

[1] Testimonials compiled by Helen Rees, Director of the World Music Center, Department of Ethnomusicology. If you are an alumna/us, current student, or other friend of the Archive and would like to contribute a statement, we’ll be glad to add it. Please email Helen Rees at


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