Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Sound Cellar: Canceling Stamps in Ghana

WAY over on the other side of the web, FOT Molly hips us to a cool 1975 recording of postal workers in Ghana whistling and stamping while they work.

This was originally recorded by James Koetting and appears in the book/CD-Rom “Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples” .

The four men making the sounds you hear are workers canceling letters at the University of Ghana post office. Each letter is canceled by hand, a boring task that these men make more palatable by setting the work to music. Twice a day the letters are laid out in two piles, one on either side of a divided table. Two men sit across from one another at the table, and each has a hand-stamp-canceling machine, an ink pad, and a stack of letters. A letter is slipped from the stack with the left hand, and the right hand inks the marker and stamps the letter.

The other sounds you hear include another man with a pair of scissors that he clicks - not cutting anything, but adding to the rhythm. Another worker simply whistles along. He and any of the other three workers who care to join him whistle popular tunes or church music that fits the rhythm.

Thanks again to the aforementioned Molly , who dug this up via one place and another but wouldn’t you know it, the chain started at the always awesome WFMU .

1 comment:

molly said...

i like that you vimeod it. nice one.