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‘Songcatchers’ looks at our universal appreciation of music and the reasons why, over the past century, technology and curiosity have carried the shamanic chants of Siberia, the dying folk music of isolated European villages, and the ecstatic gamelan sounds of Bali to music lovers all over the world. The personal tales of the songcatchers are full of romance, derring-do, and intrigue – some of them were scholars, others adventurists, and a few full-fledged spies. The machines that made their work possible progressed from the early treadle-powered phonographs that allowed sound waves to imprint wax cylinders to magnetic tape that captured sound in iron oxide particles to the digital domain of today. Hart ventures across time and continents in following the songcatchers and their machines, and throughout it all he celebrates music and its ability to transcend the mundane and transport the human spirit.