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by World Music Network May 08, 2012


John Peel’s Record Archive Goes Online

As some of you may know, the late Radio 1 presenter John Peel’s record archive became available online on the 1st of May as part of The Space, a digital arts service run by Arts Council England (ACE) and theBBC. Until October, 100 records will be released to the public each week, starting with artists of each letter in alphabetical order. Besides this, one artist from the weekly batch isJohn Peel mixingselected and featured in a short video. The project has been funded via The John Peel Centre for Creative arts and its project partner Eye Film and Television, and has been given access to the archive by Peel’s widow Sheila Ravenscroft, the curator of the 65.000+ music collection.

The project aims to convey a personal angle on Peel’s collection and thus includes great amount of detail such as home video’s, previously unreleased documentary footage, and catalogue cards which Peel personally filled with information on his type writer, which accompanies each LP, Single or CD.

john peel archiveWhere last week A was for Absalom, this week B is for Babes in Toyland. This week’s 100 records span between B.A.L.L.'s record Birdand The Bailey Brothers - The Early Days Of Bluegrass 6. Although the records are not directly streamed online due to copyright issues, links are provided  from tracks available on Itunes and Spotify where the curious can be satisfied by streaming or downloading the music.

With an investment of £3.5 milion by the ACE, The Space is hoped to be influential in peoples perception of art and culture. Chief executive of the ACE Alan Davey believes that ‘it is one of the most significant interventions that the arts council has made in its history”. Further projects include organisations such as the BFI, Faber & Faber, The Serpantine Gallery and the Bristol Old Vic.

WMN is looking forward to the week that an artist big on the World Music scene will be featured. Who knows, will it be D for Django Reinhardt, or F for Fela Kuti?  In any case, we will be keeping a close eye on the project!

Here is the title track from the record Nujum Al Laill (Stars of the night) by Abdel Gadir Salim, one of the 100 records of artists starting with A, selected for last weeks batch.