A digital archive of sounds, images, and videos from musicians and creatives around the world to preserve the culture and heritage has been created!
Spurred by art platform Borneo Bengkel, a collection of 16 creatives from Malaysia’s Sabah and Sarawak, Indonesia’s Kalimantan, and the U.K.’s England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have gathered to create the ‘Soundbank‘.
Since July 2021, invited collaborators spent months collecting and recording sounds, videos, and photography representing their daily life in their countries. Via online gathering, the group presented and shared their music and creative practices prior to the collective process.
To realise this project, a newly developed app dubbed Living Archive became the artists’ digital sphere for uploading, sharing, and remixing audio and visuals. This sphere would eventually become the Soundbank, their digital archive and playspace of music, visuals, and found sound.
Featuring an archive of recordings in a number of indigenous languages, including the highly endangered Kayan, Dusun, and Gaelic to name a few, (demonstrating the diversity in this project), the international collaboration involved is truly a feature not to be missed.
Sound bytes of morning birdsong, throngs of cicadas in the rainforest—many of these recordings were made from home or local surroundings during the various Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. Others of videos or live recordings made prior to the pandemic document gatherings and performances, atmospheres sorely missed for the past two years.
Highlighted collaborators are:
- Sarawak, Malaysia: Alena Murang, Adrian Jo Milang, and Ezra Tekola
- Sabah, Malaysia: Maya Bayu and Gindung Mc Feddy Simon
- Kalimantan, Indonesia: Nursalim Yadi Anugerah, Reza Darwin, and Juan Arminandi.
- Britain: Curator Catriona Maddocks, Musicians- Rob Griffiths, Ceitidh Mac, Nick Williams, Callum Younger, and Jayne Dent aka MeLostMe
- Scotland: Kaitlin Ross
- Northern Ireland: Cameron Clarke, aka Calm C
Curator Catriona Maddocks, originally from the U.K., has over 10 years of living in Sarawak before having to return to her homeland at the start of the pandemic.
“This Soundbank project came from the realisation last year, that while we were all so separated from one another, the digital world gives us so many opportunities to connect with people from distant places. There is such rich folk music and cultural heritage in both Borneo and the UK, we wanted to bring these musicians together in an innovative way, and use technology to create conversation through music.”
Adrian Jo Milang, celebrated Sarawakian cultural practitioner, continues to work towards ensuring the preservation and continuation of the Parap and Takna’ oral traditions of the Kayan communities of Borneo through practice and performance.
“For many, many months I haven’t been able to visit the community elders who I usually sing with. Taking part in this project, and sharing our music and recordings on the Soundbank, gave me a chance to connect with others and see that the work I do is part of a much bigger story of indigenous representation and preserving endangered languages.”
Soundbank is supported by the British Council’s Connections Through Culture grant, and was launched to the public on the 5th of November 2021 via www.BorneoBengkel.com/Soundbank.
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