Terence Bech visited Nepal for the first time as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1964. Over the next several years he traveled 15,000 km across Nepal, making recordings on a Uher open-reel tape machine. When he left Nepal, he had recorded over 260 hours of performances and life histories. The Annapurna Bech collection also includes musical transcriptions, life histories, thousands of song texts, fieldnotes, and nearly 1500 slides. At least 23 different languages are represented among the recordings in these collections. The ATM is currently working with the Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Lalitpur to make copies that can be accessed in Nepal. The collection documents a wide variety of ethnic groups in Nepal, including Tibetans in exile. It is one of the most significant known collections of Tibetan folk music from this time period. It is an important documentation of cultural life in Nepal shortly after its borders were opened to outsiders in the 1950s and before the 1996-2006 civil war and the displacement of more than 100,000 people during the fighting. The collection has been named The Annapurna L. Bech Memorial Collection of Nepalese Music for Research and Education in honor of Terence and Cheri Bech's daughter, Annapurna.
Sample 1: Child singing accompanied by drum and stones
Sample 2: Singer accompanied by Sarangi and Arwaj
Sample 3: Singer, chorus, and instrumental accompaniment