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BBC To Launch World Music Archive

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Ugandan xylophonists, the Sufi fakir and Saddam Hussein's favorite pop star, "Oh my."

The BBC will launch a globally-accessible online archive featuring music from some of the world's most dangerous conflict zones, as well as its most inaccessible states according to London's The Independent.

The archives will include audio clips of singing waitresses performing sea shanties on the coast of North Korea, and harp-playing cowboys in rural Venezuela.

The Sufi fakir is, in fact, Sain Zahoor, who plays his three-stringed tumba in the Pakistani shrine of Pakpattan.

Saddam's favorite pop star is Qassim al-Sultan, whom the BBC's Andy Kershaw recorded in 2001, singing the praises of the Iraqi dictator.

This compilation will provide 100 hours of programming on the BBC's World Music Archive, alongside dozens of photographs of recordings being made in the most remote locations.

The resource – a mix of entertainment, journalism and curation – comprises the output of Radio 3's world music programmes from the past decade and includes music from 40 countries according to London's The Independent.

Since recovering from a nervous breakdown, Kershaw has been back on the road, making shows in Laos, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. He is about to head off to record further material in the Middle East and Southern Africa. "I haven't finished yet," he added according to London's The Independent. "Cautiously, I feel I'm getting the hang of this radio caper."

One featured rare recording, made in Uganda in 2005, features a xylophone played in a hole in the ground in order to make it more resonant. "The first thing they did when we arrived was to dig a hole," said Parkin, Radio 3's senior producer for world music. "This instrument has never been anywhere. You have to go to that village to hear it. What we are trying to do is offer music that you cannot hear at a festival or buy in HMV."

The launch of the BBC World Music Archive coincides with the annual Womad world music festival, which Radio 3 has broadcast for the past 10 years, and begins tomorrow at the Charlton Park Estate, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, according to London's The Independent. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers