September 10, 2007 Library of Congress Partners with WWOZ-FM and Grammy Foundation® To Preserve Legendary Musical Recordings
Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Contact: Anna Corin Koehl (504) 524-3342; Christina Cassidy (310) 392-3777
WWOZ-FM, the legendary community-supported radio station in New Orleans, has gifted the Library of Congress with more than 7,000 hours of live jazz and blues recordings spanning 15 years. The contribution, which comes after Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters nearly destroyed the station’s primary tape storage facility, will ensure the safety of the station’s collection of historic recordings. In support of this remarkable gift, the GRAMMY Foundation® has awarded WWOZ $45,000 in grants toward the preservation of the collection.
“We are excited about this unique collection and look forward to partnering with WWOZ and the GRAMMY Foundation to preserve it and make the historic recordings available to the American people,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
Of the $45,000 provided by the GRAMMY Foundation, $5,000 was awarded through the foundation’s Music Preservation Project, which identifies and restores at-risk media and archival materials, and $40,000 was provided through a special Gulf Coast award cycle through the GRAMMY Foundation Grant Program.
According to David Freedman, general manager of WWOZ, “Without the combined support of the Library and the GRAMMY Foundation, the station could not have come up with the money to save all its live performance recordings. At the same time, we were in a position to greatly enhance the Library’s collection and thus every American’s access to great music.”
These one-of-a-kind recordings, derived from various music festivals, nightclubs and street events, feature diverse forms of New Orleans’s roots music including jazz, blues, gospel, brass band
and zydeco. “The WWOZ Crescent City Living Legends Collection” includes the most extensive collection of live music performances dating back to 1993 of New Orleans’ most recognized artists, including Ernie K-Doe, Boozoo Chavis and Tuba Fats. Selections from the WWOZ collection were named to the Library’s 2002 National Recording Registry.
While awaiting cataloging and digital preservation, the fragile recordings will be stored in climate-controlled vaults at the Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation (www.loc.gov/avconservation/packard/), the Library’s state-of-the-art preservation facility in Culpeper, Va. The Packard Campus, with a construction cost of more than $150 million, represents the largest-ever private gift to the Library of Congress and one of the largest ever to the federal government. It has been supported since 2001 by $82.1 million in federal funds for operations, maintenance, equipment and related costs.
The 415,000-square-foot facility will consolidate in one place audio-visual collections from across four states and the District of Columbia and will greatly enhance the Library’s efforts to preserve and make accessible the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of moving images and sound recordings. The WWOZ collection will join the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division’s holdings of some 5.7 million items (1.2 million moving images, nearly 3 million sound recordings and 1.5 million related items such as manuscripts, posters and screenplays). The Library will provide public access to the preserved audio at listening stations in the Recorded Sound Reference Center in the Library’s Madison Building on Capitol Hill.
About the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages and America’s private-sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats. The Library serves the public, scholars, members of Congress and their staff-all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s award-winning Web site at www.loc.gov.
WWOZ is widely recognized and celebrated in New Orleans as a respected platform supporting and nurturing the New Orleans music scene. Since its inception in 1980, it has been committed to providing exposure to local musicians playing all forms of jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, brass band, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Caribbean, Latin, Brazilian, African, bluegrass, Irish and much more. The station broadcasts worldwide 24 hours a day through its Web site at www.wwoz.org, logging more than a million listening sessions last year.
About The GRAMMY Foundation
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture-from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals. The foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The foundation works in partnership year-round with The Recording Academy® to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. The application deadline for the foundation’s next cycle of grants closes on Oct. 1, 2007. Applications and information are available at www.grammyfoundation.com/grants/.