Jèrriais-singing pop-folk band Badlabecques have donated two albums that were requested for inclusion in the British Library Sound Archive (formerly the National Sound Archive).
The British Library in London are now cataloguing the first two studio albums from Badlabecques (‘Hèque Badlabecques!’ and ‘Cocolîncheux!’), which will become a permanent part of the nation’s audio and cultural archive in the Sound & Moving Image collection. Lead singer Kit Ashton says:
“I was really excited to receive an email from James Tugwell, the British Library’s Record Label Liason, asking to include our music in the collection. It’s great that the value of our local heritage is being recognised beyond Jersey, and it’s a real honour and privilege that our music would be seen as a worthwhile contribution.”
By sheer coincidence, Kit was also able to donate the two CDs in person to Dr. Janet Topp Fargion, who is the Lead Curator of World and Traditional Music at the British Library:
“As it happens, I got the email literally a week before speaking at a conference that was programmed to coincide with Dr. Topp Fargion delivering the John Blacking Lecture. So, it was a stroke of luck that I could give her the CDs directly and take a quick photo!”
Kit, who is a PhD Music candidate at Goldsmiths College, was presenting at the joint conference organised by The British Forum for Ethnomusicology and La Société Française d’Ethnomusicologie. His paper, which was delivered in French and is now available on YouTube via his channel ‘Kit Ashton Musicology’, was about his research in Jersey, looking at the ways in which music can help to revitalise endangered languages like Jèrriais.
Whilst Kit is positive about the addition of Badlabecques’ music to the British Library, he also has a word of caution:
“This is a brilliant thing for us as a band, and for Jersey culture, but it’s also important to make sure Jèrriais doesn’t simply become ‘museumified’, and that we find ways to keep using and enjoying our wonderful language in everyday life. The value and beauty of Jèrriais has been oppressed and hidden for too long and it’s up to us all now to change that story and make sure that it’s around for generations to come.”