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The ARChive of Contemporary Music, the Arts Initiative at Columbia University, Gracenote, the Internet Archive and Columbia University Libraries present an unprecedented collaborative project to catalog and celebrate the diversity, beauty and cultural importance of Muslim music.


Muslim World Music Day
combines elements of an academic teach-in, a crash course, and a virtual town hall meeting with an innovative crowdsourcing process. A collection of individuals and institutions from a variety of disciplines will work together to create awareness and understanding of the chosen subject in a compressed time frame.

Muslim World Music Day will be a live online effort to identify and catalog all the recordings of Muslim music in the world, in one day. It will be a step towards making this culturally significant body of work readily available to people around the globe for study and enjoyment.

Secular and sacred, isolated and integrated, the diverse music inspired by Islam is both root and branch to much of the world’s music. It nourishes the jazz of Ahmed Abdul-Malik and the improvisational genius of Anouar Brahem, the gentle pop of Yusuf Islam and the Pakistani rock band Junoon, the epic song of Mali and the raucous Rai of Algeria, the Mevlevi Sufi music and pop arabesk of Turkey, formal Egyptian firquah orchestral music and the street sounds of Cairo. Flamenco, qawwali, sayang-sayang, nasheed, haqueeba, ghazal, liwa, halal hiphop, and taraab music are just a few of the diverse genres and styles unified by this common heritage. Muslim World Music Day will transcend borders and bias, promoting the positive contributions of musicians to both long-standing traditions and newly emerging scenes.

Muslim World Music Day is 100 people in a room and 100,000 people online. A host site will act as the ‘hub’, providing the technical expertise and hosting the interactive website. Hundreds of libraries, archives, and cultural organizations, acting as ‘satellites’, will send metadata on their holdings, creating the discography. Collectors, fans, scholars, artists, labels, distributors and media outlets will contribute song lists, videos, essays, lectures, cover art, biographies, instrument and genre definitions, bibliographies, electronic press kits, festival info, local scene overviews, text scans, photos, links, tweets and audio files.

The ARChive’s newest Board Member, Youssou N’Dour, has agreed to present a concert celebrating the musical inspiration drawn from his Senegalese Muslim heritage and from other regional traditions, like the North African and Arab sounds featured on his CD Egypt.

We will invite satellite sites around the world to join us in presenting concerts, seminars, educational programs, and music lessons–any and all events that will create awareness of the project and the music.

The immediate goal of Muslim World Music Day is to ensure that by the end of the 24-hour time frame, we will have created something that did not exist the day before – a free, permanently available, online catalogue of more than 50,000 recordings and their locations around the world. The long-term goal is to foster a broader understanding of Islam through one of its greatest cultural assets, its music.

Muslim World Music Day is April 12, 2011.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. bgeorge permalink*
    November 17, 2010 12:56 am

    Mahyar. Hi. Thanks for the comments. The list of recordings were downloaded from our db or over 2 million recordings using “keywords”. There are a variety of errors, and the criteria, depending on who did the keywords, was; from a region with a large Muslim population, using Arabic language, groups espousing/declaring a relevant fusion, religious affiliation – pretty loose. So even an album with one relevant title could end up here. The db was mounted so we could test and refine it, representing, as we stated, a very early stage of the project.

    This is a music project. We are an archive, not a musicology department. We are gathering data that we hope etnomusicologists, scholars, musicians and fans can utilize. It is meant to be expansive in it collection, and analysis will come after the project is completed.

    Your comments could be expanded to an essay for the project that we would welcome. I hope you have a look at our page, “What is Muslim Music?” Yours, B. George

  2. bgeorge permalink*
    April 6, 2011 2:57 am

    Dear Elhadji – Thanks for your note. What is music Zikroulah? Yes we would love to know more. We ask that people send a link/URL, or a youtube video, or a MP3 file. Thanks, Bob George

  3. bgeorge permalink*
    April 6, 2011 3:00 am

    Dear Mr. Harbin-Ahmed – Thanks so much for getting back to me. Send details asap so we can post. I do remember your correspondence from last year. Yours, Bob George

  4. bgeorge permalink*
    April 6, 2011 3:04 am

    Dear Mr. Manjee – Thanks so much for contacting the ARC. Please do send links/urls to the videos and info on the artists. If you go to the how to contribute page on the website, there is info on what we are looking for. http://www.muslimworldmusicday.com Thanks. Bob George

  5. bgeorge permalink*
    April 6, 2011 3:05 am

    Dear Mr. Najem. Thanks for the note. Do have a look at the website we are building, http://www.muslimworldmusicday.com
    Any ideas or information are welcom. Tell your friends. Thanks. Bob George

  6. bgeorge permalink*
    April 6, 2011 3:08 am

    JCA – Did you ever get anything together for the DAY? Do have a look at the website we are building, http://www.muslimworldmusicday.com
    Any ideas or information are welcome. Tell your friends. Thanks. Bob George

  7. bgeorge permalink*
    April 6, 2011 3:10 am

    Dear Seda – The day is approaching! Please do send links/urls to the videos and info on the artists.

    If you go to the how to contribute page on the website, there is info on what we are looking for. http://www.muslimworldmusicday.com

    Thanks. Bob George

  8. bgeorge permalink*
    April 6, 2011 3:11 am

    Danny – The day is approaching! Please do send links/urls to the videos and info on the artists.

    If you go to the how to contribute page on the website, there is info on what we are looking for. http://www.muslimworldmusicday.com

    Thanks. Bob George

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