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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.


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

The 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]

We have managed to acquire several recordings from an eleven part series about the music of Japan that Professor Garfias produced in 1955.

tape label

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


NEW AUG 2017: Music of Japan Nbr 11 - Koto Demonstration with Robert Garfias - KPFA Sep 15, 1955

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

tape label

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

 


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


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


NEW AUG 2017: 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 friend.

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

Recording courtesy of Robert Garfias, garf0001


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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