Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l'homme Iremam
5 rue du Château de l'Horloge
BP 647
13094 Aix-en-Provence

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The Sound Archives

Presentation of the MMSH Sound Archives

The MMSH Sound Archives is dedicated to collecting recordings from the audio heritage considered to be of ethnological, linguistic, historical, musicological or literary value on the Mediterranean space. The Sound Archives document fields that are little covered by conventional sources, or complements them from the point of view of actors or witnesses. The archive, which boasts over 4000 hours, is made up of archives deposited by researchers working with oral interviews, and associations involved in the preservation of regional heritage. Over 2000 hours have been indexed in Ganoub (south in Arabic), as its database is known. Maintaining the catalogue is a continuous process, with new references being entered each week.

News on the Sound Archives is regularly updated on The Sound Archives Blog

Supervisor : Véronique Ginouvès

Sound Archives of Marceau Gast

Ethnologist, Research Director at the CNRS, previously Director of the LAPMO (Laboratory for the Anthropology and Prehistory of the Western Mediterranean Countries), and previously member of IREMAM (The Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Muslim World), Marceau Gast, who died in July 2010, left cases containing video and audio cassettes to the MMSH Sound Archives : the oral sources of his research.

These formed the basis of his work carried out from the 1960s to the early 2000s in the Algerian south (Berber world), in Yemen, in the Queyras in France. Several overarching themes structure this archive : handicrafts, agricultural practices, food conservation techniques and oral traditions.
Find out more

Audio recordings available for consultation at the MMSH Sound Archives in Aix-en-Provence

Notebook and audio notes of an ethnographer in Yemen in the 1980s, a first glimpse into Marceau Gast’s Yemen corpus
The great majority of these recordings are in Arab Yemeni, in all the diversity of its different dialects. There is also, however, an extract in French. In October 1984, on returning to the village of Thula, north-west of the capital Sanaa, Marceau Gast gave over to reflexions in the form of audio field notes…

A thematic bibliography linked to the corpus of Marceau Gast’s audio archives on Yemen is accessible online on Zotero.

Juba Arabic (South Sudan) Linguistic Corpus, Catherine Miller

Catherine Miller, Director of Research at the CNRS and Director of Iremam (2015-2017), has registered fifty-seven interviews across two years (1981 and 1984) in South Sudan.

In this region, an intermediary between the Arabo-Muslim and African worlds, a variety of vehicular Arabic called Juba Arabic developed in the second half of the 19th century. A growing phenomenon throughout the 20th century, it has been observed in particular in Juba, capital of the Province of Equatoria in South Sudan, where the majority of these interviews were carried out. Catherine Miller has used this material to study the expansion of Juba Arabic, to the detriment of vernacular languages, and the cultural, economic, political and educational implications of Arabization in this region of the country.

This corpus was deposited at the MMSH Sound Archives in 2008 by Catherine Miller. The recordings can be heard online.
The Catalog below :

Catalogue Miller

See also the Sound Archives Blog

The Fatima Al-Baydani-Alzawiya Sound Archives

An independent Yemeni researcher, Fatima Al-BAydani Alzawiya has dedicated herself to collecting Yemen’s intangible cultural heritage from 1979 to 2015. She worked in partnership with CEFAS (The Sanaa French Centre of Archeology and Social Sciences), the ENS and UNESCO, and founded the Institut Aydanoot. In 2015, she deposited this entire collection at the MMSH Sound Archives, as part of a convention with the IREMAM laboratory. The archive contains 13 265 files that have been organized into 7 directories, according to document type : audio (342 files), video (258 files), illustrations (199 files), editorial projects (241 files), publications (88 files), photographs (4506 files), and texts (7355 files).

Fatima Al-Baydani described the story behind this collection at a conference on the 12th of February 2015, available to listen.

Since October 2016, she has been hosted by IREMAM to work on this archive, and became a laureate of the Pause Program in 2017.

Since late February 2017, a selection of documents is now available online at the MMSH Sound Archives (photographs, videos, folklore, etc.) at :
- field videos corpus

To find out more on the Fatima Al-Baydani-Alzawiya corpus, available at the Aix-en-Provence MMSH Sound Archives.

And also on : Defter and Calames.

To read on Sound Archives Blog :

Fonds Fatima Al-Baydani-Alzawiya : pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine immatériel yéménite :

Unpublished images of Yemeni heritage now available online :