I missed this news from March 2008 about the earliest recordings of the human voice made in France in the late 1850s and early 1860s. American researchers pieced together a 10sec audio clip of a French folk song which they believe is the oldest recognisable recording of the human voice. A young woman sings from the 18th century folk song Au Clair de la Lune. It was made in 1860 by Edouard Scott de Martinville on a device he called a phonautograph. Listen to the sound clip here:
Edison's recording of himself reciting 'Mary had a little lamb' were many years LATER than these very early recordings. Totally fascinating!