Beyond the Bassline British Library exhibition representing 500 years of Black Music in Britain opens this spring

500 years of Black Music in Britain is marked in a new British Library exhibition containing more than 200 artefacts beginning this spring. Entitled ''Beyond the Bassline'' the exhibition will run until late-August and documents the music of …

Published: 27 Feb 2024. Updated: 54 days.

8c7a5f70-befe-433a-95a2-3f4e5151a399

500 years of Black Music in Britain is marked in a new British Library exhibition containing more than 200 artefacts beginning this spring. Entitled ''Beyond the Bassline'' the exhibition will run until late-August and documents the music of African and Caribbean people in Britain over half a millennium drawing on the British Library’s sound archive and a sense of environment and performance spaces spanning many types of music from ''classical, gospel and jazz through to reggae, jungle and afroswing,'' according to a press release issued by the Library.

Curated by the Library's Dr Aleema Gray in collaboration with Associate Professor Mykaell Riley, director of the Black Music Research Unit at the University of Westminster, the exhibition includes audiovisual material, ranging from interviews with activist Amy Ashwood Garvey, calypsonian Lord Kitchener and Afrobeat iconoclast Fela Kuti to performances by singer Shirley Bassey, pianist Winifred Atwell and saxophonist Joe Harriott plus footage from the MOBO Awards and Top of the Pops.

Musical instruments exhibited include a double bass belonging to Gary Crosby OBE and a 1950s steelpan on loan from the Horniman Museum in south-east London also figures. Beethoven’s tuning fork, presented to violinist George Bridgetower in 1803, the subject of an opera by Julian Joseph OBE, is also an exhibit as are manuscripts and books including a handwritten letter by 19th century opera singer Amanda Aldridge.

Beyond the Bassline live events include club takeovers by No Signal (26 April), Touching Bass (3 May and 12 July) and Queer Bruk (21 June) plus conversation events involving singer-songwriters Eddy Grant (26 April) of The Equals and later 'Electric Avenue' renown and the great Birmingham 'Love and Affection' singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading CBE (18 June) are scheduled. The exhibition follows a three-year partnership tasked to ''research, foreground and reposition six centuries of African musical contributions to the UK.''

Beyond the Bassline runs from 26 April​. Tickets go on sale today

Tags:

Gaz Hughes, Nuclear Bebopalypse ***1/2

-Esque is more: Easy to like and appreciate especially if you love and take Art from hard bop, 'The Message' from Nuclear Bebopalypse was a track of the week in these pages in January. Gaz Hughes plays in the Art Blakey mould and this north of …

Published: 27 Feb 2024. Updated: 54 days.

Next post

-Esque is more: Easy to like and appreciate especially if you love and take Art from hard bop, 'The Message' from Nuclear Bebopalypse was a track of the week in these pages in January. Gaz Hughes plays in the Art Blakey mould and this north of England drummer-composer likes to deliver 1950s-soaked originals written in the spirit of Bu - Hughes alongside pianist Andrzej Baranek and bassist Gavin Barras, each of the three players contributing tunes. Hughes piece 'White Noise' lands in an AfroCuban dimension while the second part of the title track is the beefiest. Barras' riff takes us into 'Shootin' from the Hip' that consequently proves the hookiest of the numbers and contains Baranek's most impressive soloing.