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Lost Sounds is a public radio documentary in three parts produced by KUOW 94.9 Seattle. The documentary combines audio from lost recordings dating back to 1890, and information from the book Lost Sounds.

It's a common belief that African American artists were excluded from the fledgling recording industry of the 1890s. In fact, black entertainers were pioneers of commercial recording. The audio collection Lost Sounds highlights African American contributions in the earliest days of recorded sound. Prototypes of distinctly American music styles – Gospel, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz and Rock and Roll – are all represented in these early recordings.

"Lost Sounds takes us on an amazing 30–year journey through American music that many assumed was never recorded — a whole history hitherto unheard by modern audiences. These performances presage American music for the entire century to follow; the rhythms and harmonies of proto–jazz, R&B, and even rock jump from grooves cut in the 1890s. Our understanding of music, of performance, of the character and impact of black artistic contributions is forever enriched. Some experts are now suggesting that our history books need to be rewritten."
Meagan HennesseyProducer, Archeophone Records

Lost Sounds won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Historical Album. Tim Brooks' award winning book Lost Sounds: Blacks and The Birth Of The Recording Industry 1890–1919 profiles early black recording artists heard on the album. Tim Brooks and David Giovannoni organized the music for the CD. In this three–part interview, the two collectors come together to talk about the historical and social significance of Lost Sounds.

Meet some people behind Lost SoundsLook at the Lost Sounds slideshow.


Lost Sounds Part One

Monday, May 12, 2008

Part one focuses on the techniques and content of the very earliest commercial recordings.


Lost Sounds Part Two

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Part two explores how early African American recordings planted the seeds for several uniquely American music styles and for social equality.


Lost Sounds Part Three

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Part three highlights changes to the face of black American entertainment in the early 20th century and what that can tell us about contemporary times.


KUOW's Lost Sounds was hosted and produced by Amanda Wilde. Executive Producer Jeff Hansen.