Kelly Askew is involved in efforts to bring rare African music to UM through an MCubed research project:
One of the world’s most valuable and distinctive archives of music recordings will soon call the University of Michigan its home.
The Leo Sarkisian Collection of African Music features more than 10,000 audio reels in addition to 45 rpm singles and cassette tapes from sub-Saharan Africa, most of which were created by Leo Sarkisian, the longtime host of Voice of America’s “Music Time in Africa” radio program. The collection is a record of the VoA radio broadcasts and the federal agency’s longstanding engagement with post-colonial Africa. On long-term loan from VoA to the University of Michigan, the collection will be housed in the U-M Library… The collection encompasses rare and valuable unpublished field recordings that Sarkisian made while visiting remote towns and villages as well as urban centers. The majority of the tapes, however, are recordings of the radio broadcasts, sometimes featuring interviews with African musicians such as the internationally renowned Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Until the collection can be digitized, the U-M Library will be the only place a listener will be able to listen to these recordings.