One of the greatest archivists and collectors of West African music, Professor John Collins of Ghana last month experienced a severe flood and mudslide, which damaaged and destroyed much of the material he has been assembling since the 1970’s. His home is in the same premises, and his family narrowly escapted drowning.
The Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation (BAPMAF) is a Ghanaian NGO established in 1990. BAPMAF’s function is to preserve African popular & traditional performance and provide a resource centre for arts projects in Ghana and the international community.
BAPMAF archival holdings include 700 photographs, 700 publications, as well as many rare documents, speeches, posters, and record sleeves; 40 videos and 850 hours of recorded music, including 700 highlife songs on shellac 78 rpm records and master-tapes of Ghanaian bands recorded at Bokoor Recording Studio in the 1980’s.
You can read his account of the damage and recovery efforts on the Afropop blog here.
People around the world who know his work and contributions are making efforts to help. Here in Toronto, a benefit concert will be held Dec. 11 at the Lula Lounge, and will feature Toronto’s top Ghanaian palm wine/high life band, Afrafranto, including African Guitar Summit members Pa Joe, Theo Yaw Boakye and Kofi Ackah.
The suggested donation is just $10. ($10 to enjoy Afrafranto is a great bargain itself… feel free to kick in some more). More details at Batuki Music, including video, interview & a link to the BAPMAF blog.
And for a bit more background and personal observations about Professor Collins, you can listen (probably until Nov. 28) to last Sunday’s Karibuni radio show. Host Nadine McNulty brings in guests Todd Faracci, Patsy Stevens and their daughter Serafina.
Todd is well known as a music producer with the CBC (He produced the two African Guitar Summit CD’s; John Collins wrote liner notes for the first).They all discuss Collins’ contributions, and their own experiences with him. Todd tells how Collins was at Fela Kuti’s shrine the infamous night it was raided, and played a role in the movie about Fela , Black President (now lost to fire)
Listen here. The Collins segment begins about 0:52:00
Also, John Collins’ Wikipedia page is here
A great night of music, and a great way to help a major figure in West African music. More details on Batuki Music website here