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the world of music (new series) 12 (2), 2023 is online


This issue is the first part of a double issue entitled "Access to Waxes – The Collections from the Arab World of the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv: Between Digitization, "Repatriation," and Online Publication". Issue 12 (2) includes a General Introduction to the double issue plus a set of five articles, written by Nadia Bahra, Lando Kirchmair, Matthias Pasdzierny, Albrecht Wiedmann, Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco, Susanne Ziegler, Jean Lambert, and Ruth F. Davis. Issue 13 (1), the second part of this double issue, will be published in a few months from now. It includes contributions from Dörte Schmidt, Mèhèza Kalibani, Christian Czychowski & Lea Riechers, Souheir Nadde, and Lando Kirchmair. All articles of this double issue will also be available in Arabic translation.

The Arab collections at the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv (BPhA), now at the Humboldt Forum, include numerous subcollections from the period between the late 1890s and the mid-1930s. They contain recordings from Algeria, various Gulf regions (e.g., present-day Oman and Yemen), Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia. Moreover, there are more than 100 recordings featuring songs and spoken text in Arabic recorded in German prisoner-of-war camps during World War I. This double issue discusses these recordings in the light of recent debates about the decolonization of European museums, archives, and collections, and it also puts them in perspective with the legal and ethical issues involved in the "repatriation" of sound recordings. 

The thumbnail image for this double issue shows wax cylinders from the Brigitte Schiffer Collection at the Berlin-Phonogrammarchiv and instruments from the Siwa Oasis (from left to right: ẓẓṃaṛ ("clarinet"), ddarbukət (darbuka) and tagdamt), March 2023. Photo: Antje Engelmann, with kind permission.


–Birgit Abels