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John Collins

University of Ghana Music Department & the BAPMAF African Popular Music Archives
Since 1969 John Collins has worked as musician, band leader, music union organizer, writer, researcher and archivist in West African popular and neo-traditional performance. He obtained a degree in sociology/archaeology from the University of Ghana 1972, ran his Bokoor highlife band in the 1970s and from 1982 began operating his Bokoor Recording Studio in Accra. In 1987 he was made an Honorary Life Member (with Professor J.H.K. Nketia and Dr. Koo Nimo) of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). In 1990 he founded the BAPMAF African Music Archives (website www.bapmaf.com). Also in 1990 Collins read a paper (later published) on ‘Running a Band, a Music Studio and Music Archives in Ghana’ at the Second Nordic/African Audio-visual Archives Conference (AVA-90) held in Fayum Sweden and also presented a paper (later published) entitled ‘Folklore – Some Problems of Copyright’ at the National Workshop on Copyright held by the Ghana Copyright Administration, the National Commission on Culture and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, WIPO, at the Academy of African Music and Arts at Kokrobite, Accra. Between 1991-1997 Collins was Trustee of the Ghana National Folklore Board and between 1994–96 he was Technical Director of the University of Mainz and of Ghana joint project to digitize the Institute of African Studies record and reel-to-reel tape archives. Collins obtained a Ph.D in Ethnomusicology from SUNY New York in 1994 and from 1995 to present has been lecturer in the Music Department of University of Ghana (was Head from 2003-5), being made a Full Professor by University of Ghana in 2002. In 2003 he read his paper ‘Showcasing Archives in Africa: The BAPMAF Highlife Centre.’ at the ‘Audiovisual Archives: Memory and Society’ Conference of the International Association of Sound and Audio-visual Archives (IASA), held at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and the same year he was a member of nine person UNESCO panel for ‘Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage: Traditional Music and Dance’, held at the UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. Collins is still operating his BAPMAF archives and in 2016 gave some of its digitised holdings to the J.H.K. Nketia Archives of the Institute of African Studies. Most of Collins’ writing have been on African popular music, but some have been on archiving, folk music, neo-traditional music and the problems of applying copyright to the intangible cultural heritage of Ghana.