People and projects

“The music of endangered languages” conference

The Foundation for Endangered Languages (FEL) Conference in early October 2015 in New Orleans, USA, featured the theme “The Music of Endangered Languages.” It focused on how music and songs can assist in the revitalization and preservation of endangered languages.

FEL Conference Chair Brenda Lintinger, a member of the Tunica-Biloxi tribe, said the conference enabled delegates to share their experiences and solutions with each other “and foster a deeper respect for the cultural differences around the world. It really helps promote harmony among all peoples.”

Read a Media article on the FEL conference.

“We live in a world of musical circles”


We live in a world of musical circles.  There is no doubt that Jimmie Rodgers music was inspired by and build upon the influences of Black-American music, and it is only fitting that his work filtered back to Kenya.   We find this circular tale in all music we are recording – most notably the massive influence of gospel on East African music, which, in turn was created in large part by Black-American music, directly inspired by early African village music.  . . .  Our heads appropriately spin and we’re happy about that.

 – Singing Wells

TED talk: The world’s hidden music rituals

In this TED Talk from 2014:

Vincent Moon travels the world with a backpack and a camera, filming astonishing music and ritual the world rarely sees — from a powerful Sufi ritual in Chechnya to an ayahuasca journey in Peru. He hopes his films can help people see their own cultures in a new way, to make young people say: “Whoa, my grandfather is as cool as Beyoncé.” Followed by a mesmerizing performance by jazz icon Naná Vasconcelos.

TED Talk: Dreams from endangered cultures

A National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Wade Davis has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” Davis speaks from his experience as an anthropologist and ethnobotanist on the future of the world’s cultures.

With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world’s indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.

One world, many voices

The 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival highlighted some of the world’s most endangered languages and cultures. Smithsonian believes that their loss would be “a catastrophic erosion of the human knowledge base, affecting all fields of science, art, and human endeavor” and “an incalculable loss to indigenous peoples’ sense of history, identity, belonging, and self”.

Nou Samnang

This one of a series of blog posts featuring people who are making efforts to strengthen the vitality of their music. This one introduces Nou Samnang, born in 1993 in a village in Kandal province in Cambodia.