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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.

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