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Radio 3 to launch online world music archive

Music from 40 countries spanning three decades to be made globally available on BBC website

BBC Radio 3 will launch a globally-accessible online music archive, which will allow users to search and listen to more than 100 hours of content, starting Friday.

The archive comprises the output of Radio 3's world music programmes from the past decade and music from 40 countries. It also includes material from the World Routes series - consisting of sessions from artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Ravi Shankar - that is known for uncovering endangered musical traditions from countries including Haiti, Belize, Vietnam, Georgia, Madagascar and Cape Verde.

Highlights from the archive, which is a mix of entertainment, journalism and curation, include Andy Kershaw's trip to North Korea, which was the first radio show ever made entirely on location in the country. Audiences can also listen to Kershaw's Sony Award-winning series from Iraq.

The archive will feature content from this weekend's WOMAD world music festival. 2010 marks the network's 10th year of broadcasting the festival.

The opening up of the archive is in line with the BBC's plans to make archival material more accessible to audiences.