As I explained in my introduction, I'll be singing with and recording a number of traditional singers in the Republic of Georgia. While most of the editing will happen next fall, I do plan to post raw recordings and several sound bytes on the Global Conversations website. I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to post sound files (the limit on this seems to be less than most mp3's), but in the meantime, a word about the politics and ethics of traditional music recording and preservation: As people have become more interested in preserving, disseminating, and teaching traditional music, the complicated issue of intellectual property rights emerges.
Historically, singers in Georgia have not always been compensated for their work, even when recordings have been sold abroad, and the politics and logistics of compensation becomes particularly complicated when these ancient, traditional songs have been sung by generations and cannot be claimed easily by an individual or community. With web access increasing, the potential to share this music electronically grows, but with this new mode of sharing comes additional concerns about how artists can benefit from and retain a level of ownership over their recordings (see www.alazani.ge to appreciate this dilemma).
I'd like to the ways people have developed appropriate, fair systems of compensation in recording both non-professional and professional traditional singers, and I look forward to sharing some of what I learn on the Global Conversations website. Despite my concern about the ways songs can be recorded and circulated irresponsibly, with permission of the singers I'll meet in the upcoming weeks, I DO hope to share sound bytes with you from the cities, villages, and mountains of Georgia.
The music from this country is extraordinarily varied, complex, and ancient, and there's no way to get a better sense of it than to simply listen. I'll try to post a test mp3 in the next few days, and should have some photos and sound to post by next week. - Sarah Gibson