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  • David Marks and 3rd Ear Music Catalogue (in Process)

  • Roger Lucey Catalogue (in Process)

  • Darius and Catherine Brubeck Catalogue (in Process)

  • Ben Segal Catalogue (in Process)

  • Ben Segal Book Collection Catalogue (in Process)


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The Hidden Years Music Archive Project is an interdisciplinary research project with a music archive at its core

The archive, collected by David Marks, documents alternative music in South
Africa from 1957-2005. It is a unique resource that is being opened up
through archival work and digitisation, research, and curatorial projects.


Project Leader
Dr Lizabé Lambrechts

Sound Archivist
Pakama Ncume

Research Consultant
David Marks

Project Team
Ashrudeen Waggie
(Cataloguer and Metadata Officer)

Nicole van der Merwe
(Cataloguer and Metadata Officer)

Boitumelo Tlhoaele
(Public Relations Officer)

Anke Froehlich
(Copyright Officer)

David Marks and 3rd Ear Music Company Collection
Ben Segal Collection
John Gregg Collection
Roger Lucey Collection
Darius and Catherine Brubeck Collection
Jeremy Taylor
Vuleka Radio Collection
Sheila Taylor Zimbabwean Folk Music Collection
Clem Tholet Zimbabwean Folk Music Collection

Hidden Years

Hidden Years Oral History Project

The Hidden Years Oral History Project is aimed at collecting the stories of the musicians, individuals, institutions and associations involved with the events and concerts documented in the Hidden Years archive. Collecting these narratives is vital in order to recount

Free Peoples Concert Book and Exhibition Project
Lizabe Lambrechts

  This project will explore the Free Peoples Concerts, an annual multi-racial festival that took place in South Africa from 1970-1991. The Free Peoples Concerts were conceptualised within the counter-culture and hippie movements of the 1970s. These events constituted multi-racial

David Marks Digitisation Project

Throughout his life and career in South Africa, David Marks collected a range of materials that documents popular music experiences in South Africa. This includes fanzines, programmes, concert tickets, set lists, photographs, posters, newspaper clippings, letters and diaries. In order

Hidden Years Audio Visual Digitisation Project

Digitising the David Marks and 3rd Ear Music Company material is an ongoing process. Our current digitisation project focuses on the 4000 reel-to-reel tapes and 6000 cassette tapes that form part of the Hidden Years collection. These recordings not only

From the Private to the Public: Curatorship and the Jazz Archive
Boitumelo Tlhoaele

  This practice led research project will explore various curatorial strategies for a complex archival project such as the Hidden Years music archive. The focus will focus specifically on the jazz material in the Hidden Years archive and seek creative

The Market Theater Cafe: A History in Sound
Pakama Ncume

This interdisciplinary project, drawing on heritage studies, audio-visual digitisation and history work, will explore the music and events that took place at the Market Theatre Café in Johannesbrug. The café was run by David Marks and his wife, Frances Marks,

Richard John Smith Project
Ashrudeen Waggie

This interdisciplinary project between the Stellenbosch University History Department and Africa Open Institute seeks to explore the life and music of Richard John Smith and the role his music and persona played in informing coloured identity in the Cape. The


Access the archive

To cite the archive in your academic or commercial
work make sure to refer to the Hidden Years archive
preserved at the Documentation Centre for Music.

Physical archive

Make an appointment with us to visit the physical
archive at the Documentation Centre for Music,
Stellenbosch University

+27 72 372 4140 | lambrechts@sun.ac.za

On-line archive

Browse the catalogues online or contact us with your
specific needs. [Under construction]



Playlist of the Month from the Hidden Years Music Archive

Our sound archivist, Pakama Ncume, has selected the featured playlist of the month. Listen to it here.



Dancing in the Dust: The Mix-Tape Collection of Ben Segal

Music-streaming services are fast becoming the primary technology for everyday music consumption. We listen to more artists than ever before, and making playlists is a quick and easy way to collect and organise our music. How were playlists made before



Record | Memory | Archive

From 5-7 September 2017, the Hidden Years project hosted an international workshop, concert and public talk series in collaboration with Dr Stephané Vos, project leader of the Interdisciplinary Forum for Popular Music at Africa Open Institute.



Archive in Process

David Marks has spent a lifetime collecting a unique archive of material that reflect the lived experience of popular musicians and live music performance in South Africa during the height and demise of apartheid



The Ben Segal Collection Arrives

On 8 November 2013, the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS) took the decision to preserve the estate of the late Ben Segal, who died at the age of 83. A music collector of note, Segal left behind a large collection


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The archive, preserved by the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS), contains material collected by David Marks while working as a songwriter, sound engineer, record producer and director of the 3rd Ear Music and Sound Company in South Africa.

The 3rd Ear Music Company was established in 1967 as an independent record label with the aim to record, promote and produce live-music performances not heard within the mainstream record and broadcasting industries due to the political or non-commercial nature of the material. Wherever Marks went he would always press the record button, and the archive holds an impressive amount of material that documents music that was rarely recorded commercially but only performed live. Apart from the sound recordings, Marks also took photographs of the events and collected posters, programs, documents, and press cuttings. Through Marks’s work, the collection grew to reflect diverse musical styles ranging from urban folk and township jazz, to country rock, choirs, maskanda and traditional music.

The Hidden Years music archive project has three interlocking focus areas namely

  • the sustainable preservation and management of the archive,
  • an oral history project with the musicians who were active in the events documented in the archive,
  • and disseminating the archive through research, publications and curatorial projects.

Through these focus areas the project aims to build an interdisciplinary network of students, scholars, musicians, artists, curators and archival professionals who are interested in exploring the potential of music archives not only as resources for study, but also as sites open for creative projects, interventions and reinterpretation. Masters and Doctoral scholarships are available for students to work on the Hidden Years projects, and an annual internship programme caters for individuals interested in the various facets of archival work including cataloguing, audio-visual digitisation, metadata creation, working on exhibitions and becoming involved in the oral history project. As such, the archive is seen as a dynamic environment wherein archival processes and work as well as the experiences of researchers and artists in the archive produce insights that shape the archive and the record.

The project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Africa Open Institute.

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