December 30, 2011

Update on "Disaster"

John Collins has sent me an update on the situation with his house and archive (see my post of November 20). Unfortunately his mails have been marked as "spam" (probably as a result of the links he included), so I have not spotted these until a few days ago.

He writes:
"As mentioned in my previous email letter - due to a number of factors that include climate change unplanned development and blocking of natural waterways Accra was severely flooded on 26th Oct and my own Bokoor House and the BAPMAF Music archives its hosts were severely affected. After this I spent a frantic months trying to save the damaged materials and at a guess I roughly estimate that about 10% of the BAPMAF archives was destroyed . Please see the following blogspots of the American Public Radio program Afropop for pictures and more details of the disaster - and also the BBC and Batuki Music of Toronto

Also see youtube video clip:

In my previous email letter I also mentioned some of the things I have to do - which include
· Storing all the BAPMAF archives temporarily upstairs in the BAPMAF Exhibition Room.
· Repairing flood damage and build circa 200 feet of reinforced concrete wall with gravel embankment to immediately protect the Bokoor/BAPMAF property from flooding.
· Replacing thousands of dollars of lost equipment, computers, car, scanners, cameras, record player, stabilizers, 4-track recorder, chargers and 12 volt battery backup system, power point and slide projector etc..
· Finding means and funds to temporarily relocate both my residence and the exhibition section of BAPMAF (either together or separately) elsewhere.
· Salvaging and restoring the BAPMAF holdings and make its exhibition section available again to the public.

In just one month I have already done some of the above. I have saved all the materials that could be saved, dried them and stored them with other BAPMAF materials safely upstairs. I have built about 80 feet of wall and embankment. And right now I am making arrangements with a Ghanaian national cultural institution to loan the exhibition section of BAPMAF and have it relocated at somewhere in Accra (possibly the National Museum) - so that it can remain open to the public whilst I am salvaging, re-organising and re-building the BAPMAF archives.

I will also relocate myself my family and the BAPMAF library, research documents and archival holdings elsewhere for the meantime. During this time I will repair flood damage to my Bokoor property and also convert the upstairs property into an area suitable for both accommodation and BAPMAF activities (other than its public exhibitions facilities). It may also be possible later - if a sensible system of drainage is introduced to the area and people are prevented from blocking the river with sawdust and other materials - for my downstairs property to become the location for the BAPMAF Exhibitions space. However, as mentioned, for the meantime, the BAPMAF exhibitions and photo gallery might be located at a suitable national public space in Accra.

Those who wish to contribute to getting BAPMAF back on its feet should either send donations (especially larger ones) to my bank account (bank transfer) in the UK (see below) - or to a paypal account that has been set up with the help by American colleagues and well wishers. Anyone who already has a PayPal account can simply make a donation through PayPal to at . People who don't have a PayPal account should click on the donate button (marking these as a "gift") on either of the two following blogspots.

[BANK DETAILS :NATWEST, Tottenham Court Rd Branch, P.O.BOX 2EA 45 Tottenham Court Rd. London WIT 2EA ,Reward Reserve Account of E .J. Collins, Account number 26592258, Sort Code 56-00-31, Swift code NWBK GB 2L, IBAN number GB16 NWBK 56003126 5922 58]

All the best, John Collins

I am a Ghanaian-British national, a musician, musicologist and music lecturer at the University of Ghana - and I have been operating the BAPMAF music archives in Ghana since 1990. BAPMAF (the Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation) is an NGO established in 1990 by myself with the assistance and encouragment of some leading Ghanaian musicians and musicologists (like E.T. Mensah, King Bruce, Kwaa Mensah, Beattie Casely-Hayford, Oscarmore Ofori, Koo Nimo and T.O. Jazz, etc), to preserve, research, promote and disseminate Ghanaian/African performing arts, with the focus on popular performing arts. BAPMAF was first opended to the public in 1996 and then after extensive re-building at Bokoor House BAPMAF was re-opened in 2007 during Ghana‘s 50th anniversary Independence Day celebrations. The BAPMAF and its Highlife-Music Institute exhibited the ‘Golden Years of Highlife Exhibition’ through literally 100’s of photos, diagrams, maps, captions and posters as well a instuments and memoribilia connected with Ghanaian, African and Black Diasporic music. The BAPMAF complex also included of a large seminar/work-shop space, digital documentation room, audio-video laboratory and library. The BAPMAF Highlife Institute archival holdings prior to the October 2011 floods consisted of 1,200 photographs/slides, 700 publications, hundreds of rare and old documents and 1,500 hours of recorded music; including almost a thousand old highlife songs on shellac and vinyl records. It provideds materials for teaching and research purposes and has collaborated over the years with many local and foreign agencies: the Goethe Institute, the University of Ghana, the Alliance Francaise, the Dubois Centre, the Swizz Embassy, The Muscians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Ghanaba’s African Heritage Library, the US Embassy Public Affairs Section (Black History Month) and Rocky Dawuni’s Africa Live Project. BAPMAF is also a member of the UNESCO Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity and has provided materials too both local and foreign media agencies: the BBC, Joy FM, Ghana Broadcasting, TV3, Citi FM, ETV, American Public Radio, Radio France International, Mietzer-keiner-filmproduktion, Cinecon Africa, Creative Storm, the Soul to Soul project, Archiafrika, Analysis Lost Productions and Panafricas/Instituto Midia Etnica."

I have little to add, apart from an encouragement to donate generously to this very worthy cause.

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