100 fascinating, previously unissued recordings (+ a free MP3 for you)

VSL’s favorite ma-and-pa reissue label—Atlanta’s Dust-to-Digital—is putting out one of its best collections to date: a box set of African songs drawn from 78-rpm records made in the first six decades of the 20th century.

Curated by Jonathan Ward (who edits a wonderful MP3 blog called Excavated Shellac), the four-disc set collects 100 recordings from Zanzibar, South Africa, the Congo, and countries whose musical traditions are lesser-known but terrifically rich and rewarding. “I have created this compilation with one simple goal in mind: to showcase a diverse amount of long-forgotten music from Africa that transports me as a listener,” Ward writes. “It is one person’s offering of music that is wholly unavailable except in its original elusive and fragile format.” And yet the recordings themselves are totally accessible, intriguing, and universally appealing.

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