British traditional world music producer, traveler and sound archivist David Lewiston died May 29, 2017 in Hawaii. Lewiston was born in London and studied composition at Trinity College of Music, London (1949-1952), and later with the Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann in New York.
David Lewiston was best known for his field recordings of traditional music from various parts of the globe. He spent 40 years making field recordings in Indonesia, Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, and Central and South America. He created an archive of some 320 hours of traditional world music recordings. On many of his trips, he also collected photographic records of the life and culture of the communities he visited.
In 1966 Lewiston traveled to the island of Java and Bali in Indonesia to record the music of the islands with one of the first portable stereo tape recorders. From this trip came the pioneering album “Music from the Morning of the World: Gamelan and Ketjak” the first of his 28 recordings for the Nonesuch Explorer Series.
Lewiston spent most of 1967 and 1968 in South America, recording the Andean music of Peru, and the African-rooted music of Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. In 1975-76 he visited Central America, documenting the marimba music of Guatemala and the celebrations of Chiapas and Oaxaca in southern Mexico.
In the 1970s he traveled lengthily throughout Asia.