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Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias

Between 1962 and 1968, Professor Robert Garfias served as KRAB's first music director. He selected the music heard on KRAB, and assembled programs that frequently juxtaposed musical genres in unique and imaginative ways. During that period, and subsequently, he produced a program of "ethnic music" that introduced KRAB listeners to a vast array of the music of other countries and cultures. These were the best of KRAB's ethnic music programming, with commentary by Robert and his students from the ethnomusicology program at the University of Washington. The commentary helped even non-musicians to better understand why the music sounded the way it did. Sometimes that meant explaining the role of the music, putting it in the context of that particular culture's world view. Or, it might mean talking about the instrumentation, the history or development of a particular instrument or group of musicians. There were even occasions when they would stray into musical theory, using language with which many listeners may have been unfamiliar, but that fascinated and inspired some to pursue fluency.

Here is a brief biographical sketch of Robert from the Newsletter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (Sep 2013, vol 47, number 4): Robert Garfias was born in San Francisco in 1932, the child of Mexican-American parents. As a youngster he studied classical guitar and jazz saxophone. In high school he studied Western classical music composition, and he formed a jazz combo that played gigs for beatniks in the North Beach area of San Francisco, where he traveled in a circle of musicians that included Dave Brubeck, Vince Delgado, Vince Guaraldi, Harry Partch, and Bill Smith. During his career he founded the ethnomusicology program at the University of Washington; served as Dean of Arts at the University of California, Irvine, as a member of the Smithsonian Council, and as a presidential appointee to the U.S. National Council for the Arts; and conducted significant periods of fieldwork and language study in Japan, Okinawa, Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Central America, Burma, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, and among Okinawans in the United States. His autobiographical reflections can be found in Robert Garfias, “Introduction: Reflections on the Formation of an Ethnomusicologist,” in Ethnomusicological Encounters with Music and Musicians, Timothy Rice, ed. (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 1-17.

The programs are listed in chronological order of original air date.

The earliest are from an eleven part series about the music of Japan that Professor Garfias produced in 1955 at KPFA in Berkeley.


Music of Japan Nbr 7 - Shakuhachi with Robert Garfias - KPFA Jul 2, 1955

Shakuhachi: The bamboo flute of Japan. Part five of a series of talks about the music of Japan, by Bob Garfias [KPFA folio vol 6, nbr 8, Jul 10 - 23, 1955]

The continuing series of programs of Japanese music produced by Robert Garfias at KPFA in 1955, and rescued from the auction block by the KRAB Archive. The KPFA Folio identifies this as program 5, but the tape label says number 7.tape label

Listen now - Music of Japan Nbr 7 - Shakuhachi with Robert Garfias - KPFA Jul 21, 1955 (43:12)

Recording courtesy Pacifica Radio Archives and c reinsch, c0650


Music of Japan Nbr 9 - Shibai: The Theater Music of Japan with Robert Garfias - KPFA Aug 18, 1955

Shibai: The theater music of Japan. Another in the series of talks about the music of Japan, by Bob Garfias. [KPFA folio vol 6, nbr 10, Aug 7 - 20, 1955]

When, in this program, Professor Garfias says Kagura and Gagaku have been discussed earlier, he is referring to programs heard previously in the series: Part 1 and 2 of the series were devoted to Gagaku, while program 4 was Kagura.

Listening to the program as the tape was digitized, I noted that at about 9 minutes Garfias says he is closing the program about Japanese theater music with an example of music from Kabuki. Immediately after the music, the tape has Professor Garfias giving an introduction to Japanese theater. It appeared to me that at some point the tape may have broken and been reassembled in an incorrect sequence. Also, though the tape label says the program is 46 minutes, the actual program length is 41:38. The correct sequence has been restored, moving the first 10:40 to the end of the program.

tape labelIf you have not seen 2,400 feet of magnetic tape stored on a hub, click on the tape label.

Listen now - Music of Japan Nbr 9 - Shibai: The Theater Music of Japan with Robert Garfias - KPFA Aug 18, 1955 (41:38)

Recording courtesy Pacifica Radio Archives and c reinsch, c0652


Music of Japan Nbr 10 - History of the Koto with Robert Garfias - KPFA Sep 1, 1955

tape labelThe development and history of the instrument. Another in the series of talks about the music of Japan, by Bob Garfias. [KPFA folio vol 6, nbr 11, Aug 21 - Sep 3, 1955]

 

Listen now - Music of Japan Nbr 10 - History of the Koto with Robert Garfias - KPFA Sep 1, 1955 (51:09)

Recording courtesy Pacifica Radio Archives and c reinsch,c0653


Music of Japan Nbr 11 - Koto Demonstration with Robert Garfias - KPFA Sep 15, 1955

tape labelAnother in the series of talks about the music of Japan, by Bob Garfias. [KPFA Folio vol 6, nbr 12, Sep 4 to 17, 1955]

 

Listen now - Music of Japan Nbr 11 - Koto Demonstration with Robert Garfias - KPFA Sep 15, 1955 (46:08)

Recording courtesy Pacifica Radio Archives and c reinsch, c0654

 


NEW NOV 2018: Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Music of the Korean Court - KRAB 1963-1965

Examples of music and instrumentation of the Korean Court

At this time we cannot say with confidence when this program was originally aired or recorded. Until we find something to confirm the date, we will assume it was sometime between 1963 and 1965, when Professor Garfias was KRAB's Music Director and produced a considerable number of ethnic music programs. Unfortunately that period is poorly represented in our program guide archive.

Listen now - Music of the Korean Court - KRAB 1963 - 1965 (60:12)

Recordings courtesy University of Maryland Special Collections and University Archives, collection of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) - umd-bcast-072095 and umd-bcast-072096


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Indian drums - KRAB Jan 14, 1963

Dated Jan 14, 1963, only 4 weeks after KRAB went on the air, this may be the earliest of Robert Garfias' Ethnic Music programs. In it he plays examples and discusses Indian drums and drumming technique. We now have parts 2, 3 and 4.

There are close to 200 Ethnic Music programs by Robert Garfias in the Jack Straw collection.

tape labelIn coming months, we hope to share more of them.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic music with Robert Garfias - Music of India (40:27)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0980; M0993; M0977


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Bulgarian and Macedonian Brass Ensembles - KRAB Apr 1963tape label

Professor Robert Garfias talks about and shares examples of Bulgarian and Macedonian brass ensembles.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Brass Ensembles - KRAB Apr 1963 (27:30)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0961


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Balkan Dance Music - KRAB Apr 9, 1963tape label

Professor Robert Garfias talks about and shares examples of music of the Balkans, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Balkan Dance Music - KRAB Apr 9, 1963 (29:32)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0948


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Love Songs - KRAB Jun 4, 1963

Love songs of South East Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The tape labels have a number of dates on them, with the earliest being Jun 4, 1963.tape label

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Love Songs - KRAB Jun 4, 1963 (48:59)

 

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0978-1 and M0978-2


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Sunda West Java - KRAB Jul 15, 1963

Music of the Sundanese in West Javatape label

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Sunda - KRAB Jul 15, 1963 (53:52)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0691 and M0692


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Music of Peru - KRAB Oct 8, 1963

tape labelMusic of Peru; The tape box has the original KRAB label which says it was recorded on the Ampex 601.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Music of Peru - KRAB Oct 8, 1963 (63:58)

Recording collection of Reinsch, CR0075, rescued from auction


A Tabla Concert, introduced by Robert Garfias - KRAB Dec 12, 1963

Three examples of Indian drumming.

1. Samta Prasadtape label
2. Usted Ahmed Jan Thirakwa Khan (aged 79 at the time of this recording)
3. Chatur Lal.

Listen now A Tabla Concert, introduced by Robert Garfias - KRAB Dec 12, 1963 (25:47)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0679


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Burmese and Indian Music - KRAB Mar 12, 1964

Robert has recently returned from Burma and India with recordings he tape labelcollected there.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Burmese and Indian Music - parts 1 and 2 of 4 (57:41)

Recordings courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0586 and M0587


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Concert of South Indian and Japanese Classical Music - Rec Jul 7, 1964; KRAB Nov 11, 1964 and numerous times thereafter

A concert of South Indian and Japanese classical music, recorded at the UW in July.Concert Program

This is tape 1 of 3. The program from the concert is on the right.

1. Varnam in Shankarabharanam Raga; Ata Tala: Calamela
S Ramanathan, Singer; T Ranganathan, Mridangam

2. Kriti in Vasanta Raga; Rupaka Tala: Ramacandram
S Ramanathan, Singer; T Ranganathan, Mridangam

3. Ghana Raga Panchakam; Kriti in Bauli Ragatape label
S Ramanathan, Vina

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Concert of South Indian and Japanese Classical Music - Rec Jul 7, 1964; KRAB Nov 11, 1964 - part 1 (24:43)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0068


NEW NOV 2018: Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Japanese Ofuro and Yosei - KRAB 1965

The program begins with a description of Ofuro, Japanese traditional ritual of bathing in very hot water, and then moves into the musical accompaniement to a popular entertianment form, "Yosei". We have been unable to date this program, except that a copy of the tape was made in late 1967 for John W Spellman who left Seattle shortly thereafter. So it was orignially aired sometime between 1964 and 1967.tape label

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Ofuro and Yosei - KRAB 1965 (51:10)

 

Recording courtesy John W Spellman, JWS0002


NEW OCT 2018: Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Music of the Tuareg of the Sahara - KRAB Jul 12, 1968

Ethnic Music of the Tuareg of the Sahara. Explained with selections by ethnomusicologist Robert Garfias.

As has been described elsewhere in the archive, programs produced at KRAB (and at other KRAB Nebula stations) were distributed to stations around the country via a "tape exchange" service. Eventually tapes put in circulation by KRAB were absorbed into a similar kind of service managed by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB). By the 1980's the NFCB's program distribution methodology changed, and tapes became "obsolete". For a time the tapes took up lodging in Los Angeles at the Pacifica Radio Archives, but they had neither time, funds, or interest in doing anything with them. And so it came to be that the NFCB tapes traveled to the University of Maryland and the entire collection of 4,000+ tapes became a part of UMD's broadcasting collection. In 2017 the UMD received a grant to preserve endangered recordings, and 612 tapes in the NFCB collection, including about 100 from KRAB, were digitized. And now the UMD is sharing copies with us! Expect to see some surprises.

Many of the tapes in the NFCB collection have brief intros by NFCB staff. We are leaving these intact.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Music of the Tuareg of the Sahara - KRAB Jul 12, 1968 (49:49)

Recordings courtesy University of Maryland Special Collections and University Archives, collection of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) - umd-bcast-072126 and umd-bcast-072127


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Japanese Music - 2 of 4 - KRAB Dec 1, 1971

tape labelRobert has been reading from "The San Francisco Earthquake" by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts. Although titled "Japanese Music", this short clip is mostly Weather Report's "Orange Lady", followed by "Two Studies in the Ancient Greek and Harmonic Scales" by Harry Partch.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Japanese Music - 2 of 4 (13:17)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0968.2


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - African Mbira - KRAB Nov 27, 1974 (rebroadcast)

Between 1963 and 1982 Robert Garfias produced several hundred programs in the Ethnic Music series. In these he played examples and discussed the music of, mostly, non-western cultures.

tape labelElsewhere in the KRAB Archive is an interview of Professor Garfias in which he discusses a trip to Rhodesia researching mbira music.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music: African Mbira - With Robert Garfias - KRAB Nov 27, 1974 (59:06)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0944.1 and M0944.2


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - An interview of U Han Men - KRAB Apr 13, 1977tape label

Professor Robert Garfias speaks with a visiting friend, U Han-Men about Burmese Buddhism and music.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - An interview of U-Han-Men - KRAB Apr 13, 1977 (76:06)

Recording courtesy of the Jack Straw Foundation, JSF inv M0314


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Romanian Gypsy Music - KRAB Jul 4, 1979

One of four cassette tapes made by a listener off the air, and later given to Professor Garfias. This is the first of several programs about a trip to Romania in 1978 and his research there.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Romanian Gypsy Music - KRAB Jul 4, 1979 (58:51)

Recording courtesy of Robert Garfias, GRF0004


Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Classic Improvisations - KRAB Jul 18, 1979

Professor Robert Garfias plays and discusses a variety of improvised musical selections. A recording made off the air by a listener.

Listen now Listen now - Ethnic Music with Robert Garfias - Classic Improvisations - KRAB Jul 18, 1979 (62:15)

Recording courtesy of Robert Garfias, GRF0001


If you possess any souvenirs (program guides, tapes, or photos) or have a story about your experience with KRAB you are willing to share, please email archive@krabarchive.com

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