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April 10, 2001

Recording Academy Grants $40,000 For Sound Preservation

Michael Greene, President/CEO of the Recording Academy, has announced a grant of $40,000 to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to support audio and video preservation.

The grant will be applied toward "Save Our Sounds," a project to preserve historic recordings housed at the American Folklife Center and the Smithsonian Institution. Last year, "Save Our Sounds" was awarded a $750,000 grant from the White House Millennium Council, in partnership with the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This grant must be matched with private dollars.

"We are grateful for the Recording Academy grant in helping us to meet our fund-raising goal as well as the Academy's interest in preserving the diverse and distinctive voices of our nation," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Hundreds of thousands of original audio recordings on wax cylinders, wire, aluminum discs, acetate and magnetic tape in both the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution are in urgent need of preservation. Together, these two institutions hold unparalleled collections that document the American experience dating from the 1890s - including noncommercial recordings of American stories, songs, poems, speeches, and music. The collections also include unique materials such as recordings of Woody Guthrie; Jelly Roll Morton; Leadbelly; the first field recordings of Native American music; the voices of cowboys, farmers, fishermen, factory workers, and quilt-makers; African American spirituals; and stories of Jewish immigrants in America.

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American Folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival presentation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. The Center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.

On November 9, President Clinton signed the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, establishing the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress (P.L. 106-474). The new law was created to support the preservation of historic sound recordings, many of which are at risk from deterioration. It directs the Librarian of Congress to name sound recordings of aesthetic, historical, or cultural value to the Registry, to establish an advisory National Recording Preservation Board, and to create and implement a national plan to assure the long-term preservation and accessibility of our audio heritage.

Established in 1957, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Inc., also known as the Recording Academy, is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its makers. An organization of more than 17,000 musicians, producers and other recording professionals, the Recording Academy is internationally known for the Grammy Awards and is responsible for numerous outreach, professional development, cultural enrichment, education and human service programs.

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PR 01-053
04/10/01
ISSN 0731-3527

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