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Gramophone Library Project Launched

By ISD (Richard Quarshie & Delight Biney)

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in collaboration with the Center for World Music at the University of Hildesheim yesterday launched a German-Ghanaian project in Accra.

German Foreign Office will provide 100,000 euro fund towards the project which aims at preserving, digitalising and safeguarding the Gramophone Library and Tape Library at the GBC.

Launching the project, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Marius Haas, said, German Foreign Office by means of its cultural preservation programme granted the financial support for achievement of the project at GBC in Accra for which they have applied in May.

He noted that the project is a continuation of  Germany's effort to safeguard Ghanaian cultural and musical heritage, part of which have already been carried out to digitise the archive of the Institute of African Studies from 1993 to 1997.

According to him, the impressive collection of the 'Gram Library' is not only limited to local music but also international swing, jazz and pop music from the post- war period thereby indicating the scope of GBC's approach to broadcasting.

'The sound archive also comprises recordings made by Ghana Broadcasting itself, whose teams recorded music in all the different parts of Ghana and beyond. It constitutes an encyclopedia of Ghanaian cultural creativity.' Dr Haas added.

The Ambassador intimated that the Gram Library has not been accessible for broadcasting and as a reference library for more than two decades due to the fast technological change to digital media and limited options to transfer the archive into the digital world.

He added that, another aspect of the project will include the training of GBC staff to help improve their qualifications in technology as well as the management of large audio collections and databases.

Dr Haas pointed out that Germany is funding the project under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) recommendations to assist Ghanaians re-establish the collection at the library as a reference source for broadcasting for this and the coming generations.

'In our view, the Gramophone Library of the GBC is part of our world cultural heritage and hence all of us, wherever we live, are responsible for its preservation, maintenance and safeguarding. That's exactly what we do and the result will prove in which way European recording companies, and thus the societies, will benefit from the technical production of music recorded here in Ghana'. He stated.

The Ambassador thanked GBC for their spirit of corporation and was with the hope that their assistance and commitment will make the project a success.

The Deputy Director of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Kwame Anane in his remarks expressed his gratitude to the German Foreign Office for their support for the project and hopes that the training will help the staff to explore other opportunities in the digital world.