RSR106 – Recording The Voiceless in Tanzania and Rwanda with Ian Brennan

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Ian Brennan shares inspiring stories about music he produced and recorded in Africa, where he helped bring forth the voices of voiceless people to the world.

My guest today is Ian Brennan is Grammy-winning producer who has produced four Grammy-nominated albums and published four books while all the while teaching violence prevention around the world since 1993.

He has written a fascinating book called “How Music Dies (Or Lives)” that shares his deep understanding of music, culture, and recording music all over the world, but particulaly the continent of Africa. And on episode 38 he told us all about his book and field recording music in general. However since our last interview Ian has released two more remarkable records and agreed to join us on Recording Studio Rockstars to tell us about the experience, play some examples, and talk about the process of recording them.

The first record is called Tanzania Albinism Collective and I’ll read from Ian’s own description:

"In the summer of 2016, I & my wife, Italian-Rwandan filmmaker and photographer, Marilena Delli traveled to northern Tanzania. The resulting album features individuals who’d never played instruments or written songs previously.Those born with albinism are among the most persecuted people in Africa. Due to assaults, rapes, and murders, many have been relocated for their own protection by the Tanzanian government to Ukerewe Island, one of the more remote places on earth. Traditionally, the albinism community has been discouraged from singing, even during many church services. The resulting album features individuals who had never played instruments or written songs previously."

The second record Abatwa (The Pygmy): Why Did We Stop Growing Tall? Is a collection of recordings from a remote part of Rwanda, “An area so very isolated, it was as if the genocide never ended… The Abatwa (“pygmy”) tribe is identified as one of the most marginalized, voiceless and endangered populations in Africa. In fact, their name is frequently taken in vain as a slur towards unrelated others.”

In true form Ian Brennan finds voiceless peoples of the world and uses recording and technology to bring their voices loud and clear to us grabbing the attention of national media and the Grammys along the way.

"Human energy is the greatest resource in these situations. It's the most precious because it's so volatile. It's so scarce. It can be there one moment and gone the next." #IanBrennan

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Links:
IanBrennan.com
ViolencePrevention.us
Glitterbeat Records
Why'd We Stop Growing Tall
Six Degrees Records
Tanzania Albinism Collective

How Music Dies (or Lives): Field Recording and the Battle for Democracy in the Arts (Book)

Resources:
AKG 451
Electro-Voice RE20
Shure SM58
Sound Devices MP-1 Mic Pre

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