A website dedicated to 78rpm recordings of folkloric and vernacular music from around the world.

These items are from my own collection (unless noted) and have been transferred to the best of my abilities, without the aid of expensive noise reduction software. They are for research purposes only. With just a few rare exceptions, I post items that are not available on CD in any way, shape, or form.


Excavated Shellac
Folkcetera, CJSU (podcast, November 2015)
Wired (Germany) (June, 2015)
Radio Discostan (podcast, 2015)
Vinyl Asides (January, 2015)
Contrappasso (interview, 2014)
Norient (podcast, 2012)
Radio Valencia, with Haji Maji (podcast, 2012)
WFMU (podcast, 2011)
Rare Frequency (podcast, 2010)
Dublab (podcast, 2009)
Boston Phoenix

Excavated Shellac: Reeds (CD/LP)
Chicago Reader
Sound of Music (Swedish)
Uncut (1/2016)

Opika Pende: Africa at 78 rpm (4 CDs)
Los Angeles Times
PRI’s “The World”
Capital New York
Chicago Reader
Radio Valencia (appearance 11/27/11)

Excavated Shellac: Strings (CD/LP)
Signal to Noise
The Wire
Other Music
Aquarius Records
Sonic Magazine (Sweden, Issue 54, 2010)

Excavated Shellac is also on Facebook.

As I mentioned in my first post:

It’s been my philosophy that good music is best when it is shared. Of course, nothing beats that feeling, say, when you alone break open that box from Turkey or Indonesia, place the fragile platter on the turntable, only to feel your hair stand on end when the music begins. The feeling that you’ve never heard anything like this before in your life; it transports you to a place where words are irrelevant. But part of that feeling is thinking how you’d want to share that with others, to have them feel exactly the same way. This music – old music – never sounds “old” to me, personally. In fact, I believe that it is music of THE FUTURE. Our future.

Record collectors are eccentric people. I don’t even like the term “record collector.” They’ve been parodied far too many times. Accurately, I might add. But I could not live with myself as a “collector” without at least one person I could share sounds with. So this blog is for my friends, and for you, stranger.

If you like what you’re hearing, drop me a line. Yes, yes, it’s okay to download everything and then leave, but seriously – if you feel so moved, give me a shout out!

E-mail me for more information, or if you are the copyright holder of materials herein, and would like something removed.

With respect to the pioneers: Pat Conte, Richard Spottswood, Benno Haupl, Michael Kinnear, Richard Nevins, Hugo Strotbaum, Rob Allingham, Chris Strachwitz, Pekka Gronow, and Paul Vernon.


Creative Commons License
The written work on this blog is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

That means you cannot copy the works here without expressed permission.

And of course, if you find any interesting 78s and would like to unload them, please get in touch.


I hope any viewers and listeners out there appreciate the music.

84 thoughts on “About

  1. I can vouch for this guy – he’s the real thing. And that room pictured above smells exactly how you might imagine it does. Aaaah, musty shellac!

  2. I really like what you are doing here. Thanks for sharing your finds with us, and please keep it up! :p

  3. We will so be following your lead here in historical accordion music for our Accordion Noir radio show. We already play old cylinders off the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization site. Nothin’ like a bit of the 1890’s to liven up a show, lead into Russian punk-rock.

    Thanks much. I’d love to have a copy of that Squashbox record. African and Asian accordion are very interesting to me right now.

  4. Wow i came across your site while looking for info on a aremian columbia 78 by A. Kevorkian i just junked,glad i found this great site,the real treat was hearing Rizeli Sadik,what a wonderfull side,and chance you may put the other tracks up by Sadik?

    Keep up the great work

  5. The Internet seems smaller and grander thanks to coolcats like you; thanks much for all your wonderful posts of esoteric (for me at least) music. There is nothing better than being exposed to new things, and there is nothing better than a foreign entity to foment thoughts of how beautiful life can be.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am so excited to find all this precious music here! I downloaded few tracks (Arnautka, Sadik with his kemanche, Jeirani) , all of them are fantastic. I have special interest in Armenian music, do you have some more and is there a chance to reupload A.Kevorkian?

  7. It’s possible that the old tracks will be resurrected relatively soon. I will keep you posted. Yes, I do have more Armenian music, though I’m not sure when I will post more. Stay tuned and thanks for visiting!

  8. i stumbled across your jewel of a blog, thank you so much for the time and energy you put in it. gorgeous selections! the eastern european, south american(!) and south asian tracks are especially mesmerizing. please, keep them coming, especially any indonesian ones you might have!

  9. In howling abjection I write you after having missed the cut off
    for your precious Phata Phata post at Matsuli Music. Such agony!
    I find it impossible to assuage the pain I feel in missing this ebullient
    boat. Is there any hope that any of the South African material you so
    generously offered up will find its way to some new availability?
    To find oneself on the wrong side of this sublime offering is
    grievous in more ways than I can say.

  10. I see your text about Maria Alice and like it very much. I´m a portuguese collector of 78 rpm. I have quite a lot of recordings, specially from the frst two decades (Zonophone. Gramophone, Odeon, Columbia, Victor, etc).
    I would like to konw if you have other portuguese records, Maria Alice recorded a lot. I also have LOUCO but Brunswick 9126. I can tell you that I´m going to start a new series of my collection Fado Archives, that you can check in my website and Maria Alice qill be one of the 12 new releases. José

  11. Just discovered your terrific website. (What took me so long?) As someone who has been reissuing ethnic (read: “Yiddish” and “klezmer”) 78s for decades (and more recently hillbilly and blues 78s) I’m thrilled to find another colleague and a new outlet. Please keep it up and if you would like to post some stuff from my world of expertise I would be thrilled to help.

  12. A million thanks for your time and handiwork. Wondering if you’re averse to the occasional tune being lifted and re-broadcast on internet radio, with, of course, credit given? Would be honored to help spread the good news, which we’ll do either way, by radio or by spoken word!

  13. Thanks for the hard work in finding and letting us listen to these treasures. Your site is excellent and all the links are great too. I wish I had found this early so i could hear some of the posts that aren’t on here any more (would love to hear the tracks from Armenia).
    Thanks once again. Cheers Joel.

  14. I just found out about this site.
    I really like it a lot. It’s amazing.
    I am a big fan of 78rpm music from all across the globe. I really like the museum of mankind cd’s for instance. Unfortunately i am not in the geographical or financial position to acquire some 78’s of my own so it’s great to hear these songs i would otherwise never get a chance to hear. I also like the detailed information. I think i am going to be a regular on this site from now on.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. Thank you, this is a WONDERFUL site. The Goanese hillbilly song with the yodeling! The somewhat Cajun sounding Petite Lili Valse! The other strange but beautiful sounds! Thank you thank you thank you.

  16. Hello and thanks. I so appreciate the work you’ve put into this site. I might enjoy some form of player stack or playlist to listen a bunch. thanks again.

  17. Great blog! Can anybody help me? I am trying to find out when was recorded “Kaloutera sta katerga”, Odeon Greece GA 7853, by E.Preka, with Spyros Peristeris conducting orchestra.Thanks, and keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Mat
      According to the Greek 78rpm discography compiled by Dionysis Maniatis the record was made in 1955, and the name of the singer is given as Vangelis Prekas, who is also credited as composer.

      1. Hello Tony, could you post the info for this discography? I would like to get a copy if I could. Thank you

  18. What a gold mine! Thanks so much for this–the African music is a treasure and available nowhere else. Keep going–and thriving. Your site, which I just found out about, is flat out amazing.

  19. a lot of people already said it, but I really have to say it again: woah!

    so many treasures, thanks for all the ill stuff

  20. Thank you, pvc – your words mean a lot to me. I have gotten more enjoyment from your efforts than I can accurately express.

  21. Hi,

    Excavated Shellac is the best. Especially because the music is coming from no matter which corner of the world!
    I sincerely hope that one time you are able to excavate shellac records with QURANIC RECITATION on it or perhaps the ATHAN (the islamic call to prayer).

    Keep up the good work.

  22. Thank you for your nice comments, Abdulwadad! I do have early recordings of Quranic recitation. They are quite rare. At some point, I will try and post one. Thank you for visiting!

  23. To subscribe to the RSS, you click on the RSS icon at the top of the page, usually opposite the URL. You must already subscribe to Bloglines or a similar RSS feed to receive the notifications.

  24. Such a great blog!
    Thanks for the time you take preparing and curating lost music, its an inspiration!

  25. Hi John – You’ll have to forgive me as I’m terrible with this stuff. It was my understanding that, if you use Firefox, all you need to do is click the orange RSS feed button to the right of the URL, and you’ll be subscribed.

  26. Philippe – I believe it’s: Maniatis, Dionysis, I Ek Peraton Diskografia Grammofonou, Athens 2006. Not sure how to go about getting it, though. I’m sure Tony will chime in.

  27. brilliant work. autoharp band from south africa kills me and the hausa record of salifu titah’s band. really exceptional.

  28. i’ve spent the whole day listening to these recordings. i can’t believe i’d never heard of your project before. really great

  29. Hi,

    Thanks very much for your work.
    I found on your site some interesting info about Kosta Sarcanski.
    Kosta played for my grand parents wedding in 1923, I have a picture taken at that occasion.
    I am from Sombor and looking for information about Sombor musicians: Kosta, Stevan Bacic Trnda, Jova Mijatovic, Joca Maksimovic Conka.


    1. Petre, I’ve sent you an Email through contact info on the website pera&pera. I’m Kosta’s great granddaughter and I would like to get in touch with you for more information about him and Trnda. I’m living in Trnda’s former house. He lived here for relatively long time. He owned a pub next to this house a long time ago.
      Greetings from Maja from Sombor!

  30. Hi,
    I am very impressed and touched by the quality of your work, and the level of research and documentation for each release.
    If you have a moment, have a look at a very modest contribution along the same lines I have put under the “music found” page of my web page. It will certainly inspire me to research the background of the few recordings I have put there!!
    Best wishes from Oxford,

  31. Jonathan; Kudos. Love the site and the opportunity to explore these distant sonic vistas. It’s understating the case to say that the aural experiences are nothing short of revelatory. Great job!

  32. I think that African Test Pressing No.1 (OAB-70007) was recorded
    in Freetown, Sierrra Leone between Septembet 1954 and Frebruary 1955.
    Rena Galibova (OPC-132-2) was recorded in Braga on 17th. June 1947.
    African Test Presing No. 4 (WAO-20102-2) was recorded for Odeon in Lagos, Nigeria between December1955 and January 1956/
    Manuel Centeno (K-864) was recorded for Columbia possibly in Barcelona, ca August 1928. Nino Ricardo was recoridng with La NIna do los Peines at this time.
    Martin Cayla (Sansac de Marmiesse, 23rd. June 1889 – Paris, 28th. January 1951). Le Soliel records ran from No. 1 to 479.I think the first were made about 1930 but I don’t know when the last issues were made. Le Soliel also had a vertical series that ran from No. 1 ro No. 98. I think this started in 1927 and finished abour 1931.

  33. I was wondering, with the whole “green” movement, why no one has decided to start producing shellac records? They were certainly not made of plastic!

    anywho, I thought that some darned engineer would improve something from the past.

    one can only hope.

    cheers, and I’ll be checking in on the site often.


  34. Jonathan,

    I’ve compiled and annotated several CD compilations of classic Congolese pop for Sterns Music, a British label that specializes in African music. I’m now at work on a retrospective of Joseph “Kallé” Kabasele. I have lots of the records he recorded in the 1960s with his band Orchestre African Jazz, but I’ve found very few of the earlier records that made him famous in the Congo.

    I’m particularly looking for 78s he recorded for Opika from 1950 to 1957 and for Esengo from 1957 to 1960. La Voix de Son Maitre reissued some of them in France, but those have also proved to be scarce. Collectors I’ve contacted in Europe have come up with very little.

    Do you have any Kabasele records or know of who might?

  35. Nice music from all over the world. I´m a brazilian fan. If you need some tip abot brazilian music please contact me. Thanks and keep doing this amazing work.

  36. I got into 78s from listening to my mom’s recordings made in 1939 and 1940 for Teichiku in Japan. Funny they are being reissued later this month at http://www.cdbanq.com/VA–Nippon-Modern-Times-Swing-Girls-2CDS-Japan-CD-TECH-37281_p_59392.html
    I graduated to some Sarah Vaughn recordings I found at Amoeba on Sunset Blvd. Last month I listened to some Subbulakshmi 78s I got off ebay and they are priceless. I’ve made dubbings but I’ve never taken it farther than that (i.e. no noise reduction etc.)

  37. Serendipitous, indeed. I was just forwarded the LA TImes Blog about you from a friend I did a radio show with in the very early 70’s. I had just reconnected with him after nearly 40 years two weeks ago. I am in the midst of reading the biography of Alan Lomax and going through my vinyl collection from the 70s, trying to see what I can sell (bad economic times), but unable to let go of my Africa LPs. Your site is JUST what I needed. I used to live for finding new musical treasures, new and different sounds. For months once, I listened to the same section of tape every day, over and over, of a recording of the Sundiata epic from Mali. It never gets old – these treasured pieces. Thank you soooo much for your Blog! Can’t wait to listen to every single piece and what’s been archived!

    Helen Lyons

  38. Hi JW,

    Re: RSS feed for your site. You are right, Firefox will give you that little symbol to click on, but on, but this doesn’t work on Chrome. Could you put it in your ‘About’?

  39. Brilliant… Interesting.. Uplifting… Inspired… just recently stumbled upon a box with a bunch of 78s but yet to dig in…. but I believe now got this renewed urge to find out what lies therein… I’m also certain i’m going be back here…. soon to be another virtual home close to home…

    peace in light….

  40. Hi,

    Thanks you very much for your amazing work of collecting/ripping/editing/uploading/posting…

    I just can’t imagine how many time did it take ?

    Anyway, I discover many amazing tunes here.

    Regards from France.

  41. Hello, I am trying to find any catalogues out there of Kurdish 78 records please? many were released on Columbia and HMV label in India, Pakistan and England.

    1. Hi there – I have not seen, nor do I know of any Kurdish record catalogs. I would imagine those discs were included as part of Iraqi or Persian recording catalogs. There are also many Kurdish discs issued on independent labels, like Chakmakchiphon, based in Baghdad.

  42. My brother and I are dying to download and listen to the selection “Rita Impertinente” which we were unaware of. G. Crapanzano was our grandfather who emigrated from Sicily in 1922. His little daughter Rita was born later that year and he did not see his family again until they joined him in New York City in 1929. My grandfather was a musician who played several instruments, a teacher and composer who came to America to make his fortune but ended up as a musical barber in Manhattan. I can forward some photographs of my illustrious grandfather. There is a lot more to the family history but for now, suffice it to say that we had despaired of ever locating any of our grandfather’s recordings (there were a few) or piano rolls. Thanks for the great work you are doing in bringing these lost gems to light. Barbara Segreto

  43. He probably was. He played string instruments including guitar and mandolin but I believe he also played the clarinet (and probable flute and piccolo). My brother might know more. We’ll try to get some photos your way. I actually had some manuscripts which I gave to my nephew for safe keeping. One recording in particular we have been looking for is called “La Birichina” also written for Rita (my mother, now deceased). Rita was a very spirited little girl!

    1. It definitely looks like he was part of “I Flautisti” – also known as “Art i Flautisti.” They recorded 4 songs in 1928, all written by your grandfather (“Rita Impertinente,” “L’usignuolo,” “Il Flauto,” and “Buona Notte”). However, there is nothing else in existing discographies indicating that he recorded anything else. Do you have knowledge that “La Birichina” was released?

  44. I found your site when looking to find the value of this collection of VG+ Lithuanian vintage vinyl records, including 78 rpm (some of those are in the original collector’s album.) I love your ideas of letting people hear this music. I have some photos ready to show you.

  45. This is a great blog and approach to music. I discovered it via The Guardian article. However, I miss a section regarding Venezuelan music. I think it will be a great addition to the blog.
    Keep the amazing work!

    1. Your dedication and love for this project is truly staggering, shadowed only by your immense generosity of sharing it with us. Thank you!!!

  46. Today I heard your article on NPR in Wilmington, NC. I was immediately drawn in because my name name is Jonathan Ward as well and they mentioned you being a record collector. The pieces of music shared was very nice and I hope to hear more and look forward to purchasing the cd’s from dust to Digitial. Cheers

  47. I heard your story on NPR as well! I look forward to delving into your site! Thank you for your intense hard work in cataloging all of these recordings!

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