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,
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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs