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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hansen

‘This Makes Me Cry for Joy…!’

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

“I feel like this is the best page on Instagram hands down!” “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” If you feel like joy-scrolling for a few hours down a magnificent rabbit-hole, this is definitely the place.

One little corner of the vast and mostly vacuous social media universe is lighting up people’s lives in a most astonishing way. The Dust-to-Digital Instagram site, a dynamic archive of musical performances from all over the globe, is an irresistible treasure trove of talent from classical virtuosos to street performers, to gospel choirs and child prodigies, most of whom you’ve never heard before and often won’t find anywhere else.

Dust-to-Digital is a company created in 1999 by the husband-and-wife team April and Lance Ledbetter in Atlanta, Georgia. Their mission -- and Grammy-winning labor of love – is finding and digitizing rare folk, blues, gospel, rock, and jazz recordings, plus little-known interviews with famous musicians, from all around the world and packaging them in beautifully designed CD, DVD, and vinyl collector’s editions.

The Ledbetters started the Instagram site in 2017. It contains 2,600+ posts with audio and video samples from their historic collection, along with an intriguing array of recordings sent in by onlookers of street singers, traditional wedding music, parade bands, and impromptu serenades on handmade instruments, to name just a few.

The IG site has over a million followers and is the best example of the positive power that social media can have for bringing people of varied cultures together. In this case, through the universal and delightful language of music.

Photos (from top): Paul Barton; Dona Manteca; Latarantadi; Hazel Scott; all courtesy Dust-to-Digital.

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