Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 11 April |
Saint of the Day: St. Stanislaus of Krakow
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

The British Library Has an Archive of Sounds, and It’s Incredible

Daniel Esparza - published on 06/01/16

More than 80,000 audio recordings are available free for streaming online

Online galleries, libraries, archives, virtual tours, TV streaming and music playlists can offer an immense repertoire for your senses to feast on. Well, actually only two of them (your eyes and ears, right?). However, you might still feel there’s something missing. Maybe you are looking for a very specific sound. Let’s say, that of a woodpecker hunting for termites on an elm tree during the Fall in upstate New York.

Well, the British Library Sound Archive surely has it. Or something close to it, at least.

In 2009, the Library made its archive of world and traditional music available for everyone, for free, on the internet. It’s a collection of around 28,000 recordings, equivalent to 2,000 uninterrupted hours of singing, chanting, shouting, playing, tingling, yelling … you get the picture. But if you click on the Sounds archive, you’ll find recordings of accents, dialects, nature (where your woodpecker might actually be), oral history or even this .

Here’s just a taste of what’s available:

A 1955 recording of a Yorkshire, England housekeeper

If you want to visit the archive, just click here. Happy listening!

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.