Recording Verbal Art Performance with Handheld Equipment: The Preparatory Phase in Africa

Aalders, Henri 

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The recording of oral tradition performances aims at a full and complete document of performances that are given by storytellers belonging to a specific tribe, village or clan. The purpose of the recording is to enable multi-disciplinary analysis. Ideally, these stories are performed and recorded in an intimate setting. Registration or recording involves, by definition, disturbing the conditions in which the verbal art is normally performed. Local conditions will differ in the extent that they accept disturbances. The larger the amount of technical equipment, the larger the disturbance will likely be. Anthropological recordings should be realised with a minimum amount of disturbance and with equipment that is as non-obtrusive as possible. Small scale, contemporary HD video cameras and microphones can now deliver recordings of sufficient quality to enable thorough analysis.

This paper will explore the use of project management principles in the recording of verbal art performances and also address practical issues born from extensive experience in this area.

art performance, handheld equipment, oral literature, Africa