Rodeo Records Collection Added to CBU’s Beaton Institute Archive

Cape Breton University’s Beaton Institute is pleased to announce the exciting new acquisition of the Rodeo Records music label, a collection that documents Canada’s early recording era and features the Celtic label series of recordings, which includes an impressive catalogue of Cape Breton and Maritime artists dating back to 1933. The overall collection includes master tapes, stampers, 78s, LPs, textual documents, photographs, and album slicks.

As part of the Centre for Cape Breton Studies Celtic Colours Lecture Series, Ian McKinnon, a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Celtic Rock group Rawlins Cross will be on campus on Friday, October 14 at 10:30 a.m. to present Fiddling to Fortune: The Early Commercial Recordings of Cape Breton Music. His talk will reflect on the Rodeo Records music label making it a fitting celebration for the donation. The event is free and open to the public.

“As our archive continues to grow, our reputation as a cultural repository strengthens. This very significant collection will further enhance the Beaton’s culturally rich holdings,” says Catherine Arseneau, Manager, Beaton Institute.  “Being an established holder of such valuable pieces of history makes the Beaton Institute an attractive home for Cape Breton’s documentary heritage, which may come from around the world. Today, the Beaton Institute archive holds approximately 1.8 km of material – photographs, maps and plans, textual records – documenting the historic, economic and cultural history of Cape Breton, rare books, reference books and audio-visual records.”

Founded in 1949 in Montreal by George Taylor and Don Johnson, Rodeo Records and its affiliated labels include some of the most rare and significant regional and national Canadian recordings in existence.

The Rodeo family of labels accurately reflects the spectrum of music production in Canada over a period of four decades.In addition to being the chief primary source material for Rodeo Records, the collection provides unique and comprehensive material for research and education into the wider field of the art, business and technology of popular music production.

“The Rodeo Records collection complements the Center for Cape Breton Studies Digitization Lab’s goal of migrating reels to digital format.  By digitizing the collection we are able to preserve the music and make it available to the researching community and for general interest,” says Arseneau.

Since 2006 the audio-visual collection has been a priority for the archives. It has been the focus of several projects including a web based educational site entitled Music: Cape Breton’s Diversity in Unity.  Through the Centre’s Digitization Lab approximately 650 of the Beaton’s 4200 recordings have been digitized.  “This work is on-going, and it will remain a priority – it has to be to for us to live out our mission to preserve and to provide access to these cultural resources,” she says.

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