Be part of the Historic Hawaiian Music Collection

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Music just isn’t for entertainment — it’s also for archiving, archiving voices of old and stories of their time.

One of the largest known collections of Hawaiian music in the world has found a new home at the State Archives of Hawaii, and they need your help sorting it out.

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More than 20,000 pieces of Hawaiian music live in dozens of boxes, just waiting to be organized: 10,000 came from Canada, 10,000 came from Territorial Airwaves, and smaller collections came from other donors.

The aim is to make the collection accessible to the public. Archivist Adam Jansen is appealing to the community to help him undertake this colossal task.

“It’s more than my staff can handle. We need help, both financially, but more importantly, we need the community to help drive this project,” Jansen said.

According to Jansen, around 60% or more of the collection are 78 rpm records, which makes them before the mid-1950s. The oldest piece discovered so far dates back to 1905!

Volunteers will be responsible for cleaning, indexing and digitizing the collection.

“It’s extremely valuable because in archives we tend to focus very heavily on the written work, but Hawaii is such an oral tradition that these documents – especially the older ones – have a moʻolelo that we don’t have. writing,” Jansen explained. “So making them accessible to people is going to be extremely valuable.”

The collection (all out of copyright) will eventually be put online for everyone to access; everything else can be accessed by entering the Archives.

“We’re going to learn things about how the instruments originally sounded, what lyrics were originally spoken, what the time signature was and what tempos were used,” Jansen said.

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Those interested in volunteering to help curate this collection or who have music-related items to donate can email [email protected]