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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As ethnomusicological collections become accessible to individuals, communities, and institutions beyond the scope of the original collector, their contents are often repurposed, reimagined, and reinformed. With the growing engagement with repatriation by archives, individuals, and institutions, field recordings, fieldnotes, images, and other supporting materials offer tangible and intangible records of musical performance, context, and historical data to scholars and the communities that first offered their music for scholarly research. Drawing from the Vhavenda materials in the John Blacking collection housed at the University of Western Australia, this chapter uses two case studies, on children’s music and musical instruments, to explore some of the myriad issues surrounding the repatriation of a historical ethnomusicological collection. The goal is to help shape how future archivists, scholars, and communities engage with archiving and repatriating ethnomusicological collections.

Keywords: South Africa, Vhavenda, children, music, instruments, archives, John Blacking

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