News / USA

    National Jukebox Offers Digital Treasures

    Library of Congress unveils website featuring thousands of rare and historic audio recordings

    Harry Connick Jr. performing at the Library of Congress at the announcement of a new website of over 10,000 rare historic sound recordings available to the public for the first time digitally.
    Harry Connick Jr. performing at the Library of Congress at the announcement of a new website of over 10,000 rare historic sound recordings available to the public for the first time digitally.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Grammy-winning performer Harry Connick, Jr., was on hand recently to help the Library of Congress launch a website that offers 10,000 rare and historic sound recordings to the public in digital format for the first time - at no charge.

    The massive collection includes popular music, opera and early jazz as well as poetry and famous political speeches. Al Jolson, Arturo Toscanini, Enrico Caruso and George Gershwin are just some of the musical giants featured in the collection.

    Treasure trove

    The site, called National Jukebox, is a collaborative project between the Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment. It offers online access to a vast selection of music and spoken-word recordings produced in the U.S. between 1901 and 1925.

    James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, characterizes the collection as a “vast treasure trove of recordings produced in the U.S. prior to the end of 1925.”

    Announcing a new website of over 10,000 rare historic sound recordings now available digitally to the public are (from L to R) singer and actor Harry Connick, Jr., Richard Story, President, Commercial Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Gene DeAnna, he
    Announcing a new website of over 10,000 rare historic sound recordings now available digitally to the public are (from L to R) singer and actor Harry Connick, Jr., Richard Story, President, Commercial Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Gene DeAnna, he

    "It includes early jazz, famous speeches, poetry, humor, opera, dance music with authoritative production information for each recording," says Billington.

    The Library of Congress holds the largest collection of historic sound recordings in the United States. They're stored and digitally preserved at a special facility in the state of Virginia. The Jukebox recordings come from that facility.

    Richard Story, president of the Commercial Music Group of Sony Music Entertainment, says the remarkable collection traces the roots and development of American music and includes the work of “some of the most influential, most important artists ever."

    Golden memories

    Story presented a few samples from some of those influential artists that are now available on the Jukebox. In a video clip from the 1970s, American composer Eubie Blake performs his signature song “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” with a young Harry Connick, Jr., sitting at the piano with him.

    Connick, now 43, played that same song from long ago and reminisced about his day with Blake.

    "I remember I was nine and he was around 95, 96 years old, and I’ll never forget sitting next to him. I look back on it now and I realize, this guy wrote such significant music, not only musically but that song was pretty much the song that cleared away the taboo of any depiction of love between black people on screen or in music," says Connick. "But all I could think about at that age was looking at this guy’s hands saying ‘I’ve never seen hands that big,’ I mean the longest fingers you can imagine."

    Connick says it's both heartwarming and inspirational for him to see the Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment ensuring that “new generations have access to these treasures.”

    "I was lucky. I grew up with it firsthand but I look at my kids and to know that they have a technological way, a vehicle to get these songs, is absolutely imperative and I applaud you all for doing that."

    The Library of Congress website 'National Jukebox," showing the interactive 1919 Victrola Book of the Opera.
    The Library of Congress website 'National Jukebox," showing the interactive 1919 Victrola Book of the Opera.

    Opera, Jazz and much more…

    Unique music now available on National Jukebox includes a 1904 recording of great Italian opera singer Enrico Caruso performing "Vesti la Giubba" from the opera "Pagliacci," as well as a sample of the first jazz recording ever released, a 1917 recording of  “Livery Stable Blues” by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

    According to library officials, National Jukebox currently features only a fraction of what’s to come.

    "We think the jukebox is dynamic, it’s an evolving archive of historic sound and we want to grow it to include tens of thousands of more recordings in the next few years," says Gene DeAnna, head of the Library’s Recorded Sound Section.

    There are about 100,000 recordings at the Virginia facility. Visitors to National Jukebox can now listen to 10,000 of them on a streaming-only basis while also viewing thousands of label images and performer biographies.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.