Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Tailenders

On July 25 PBS will air a documentary entitled The Tailenders, featuring the missionary organization Global Recordings:

"The Tailenders explores the history, techniques and philosophy of a remarkable organization that has recorded Bible stories in over 5,500 of the world’s 8,000-plus languages and dialects, and made those recordings available in the most remote regions through inventive, ultra-low technology. The company has reached out to the 'tailenders'—those who are among the last to see missionaries and whose languages and ways of life are disappearing under globalization’s sweep.... This dedication to amplifying Christian proselytizing with technology has led to signal achievements, including an archive of over 5,400 spoken languages and dialects—the worlds’ largest—many of them extinct or on the verge of extinction, and some of them perhaps preserved nowhere else. The inspired amateur 'techs' of Global Recordings also tackled the problem of bringing the recorded voice to backward regions with delightful ingenuity and artistry, creating a museum’s worth of cheap, durable, hand-powered record and tape players and transistor radios. Archival photos and footage show GRN missionaries astounding native listeners with the boxes that tell stories in their own dialects."

(HT: World Mag Blog)