Black British music


Black musicians have found themselves at the heart of British culture for some 500 years and, in the course of the last 50, have not only transformed the creative landscape but now define music in the UK with acts like Stormzy and Ezra Collective. This book accompanies the first ever large-scale exhibition on Black music in the UK and explores the people, spaces and messages that formed part of this central British soundtrack. We travel from jazz to calypso, from reggae and punk to soul and rap and onwards through Garage, Grime and Afrobeats. More than just music, the sounds, style, innovations and industries that have emerged from African and Caribbean visionaries in Britain are surveyed and celebrated.

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SKU: 9780712354899 Category: Tags: ,


The story of Black British music is a five-hundred-year journey from the court of King Henry VIII to the ‘Ends’ of South London; from Africa to the Caribbean to the UK and back; from subterranean shebeens and church halls to royal command performances and sold-out stadiums; and from outsider influence to domestic chart domination. It is a story that grapples with the slave trade, the prejudice of unwelcoming institutions and the bias of ignorance while ultimately celebrating the creativity and perseverance of the pioneers and today’s digital age innovators.

Published alongside the major British Library exhibition, Beyond the Bassline is a landmark volume of essays, features and interviews which traces a new timeline underpinned by the Black artists and musicians who, over centuries, have shaped Britain’s unique and globally significant musical culture. Illustrating this vibrant history which traverses musical genres from classical, gospel and jazz through to reggae, jungle and Afrobeats are more than three hundred images including contemporary and classic photographs, paintings, posters and record sleeves.

Introduced by the exhibition’s curators, Dr. Aleema Gray and Mykaell Riley, and edited by Paul Bradshaw, music journalist and publisher of Straight No Chaser magazine, Beyond the Bassline tells its essential story through specially commissioned pieces from musicians, composers, DJs, writers and photographers, as well as important voices in politics and history.

Authors/Contributors include: Tej Adeleye Christian Adofo Ishmahil Blagrove, Jr. Stephen Bourne Garth Cartwright Monique Charles Dalia Al-Dujaili Tracy Durrant Juliet Fletcher Vivien Goldman Julian Grant Linton Kwesi Johnson Anthony Joseph Julian Joseph Cassie Kinoshi Kevin Le Gendre Charis McGowan Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm Tony Montague Malik Al Nasir Sharon O’Brien Michael I. Ohajuru Lisa Amanda Palmer Amar Patel Ade Egun Crispin Robinson Angus Taylor Chardine Taylor-Stone Andy Thomas Julia Toppin Ayanna van der Maten McCalman Derek Walcott Richard Williams Val Wilmer Anthony Wright Benjamin Zephaniah

Additional information

Weight 1.222 kg
Dimensions 18.4 × 24.8 × 2.8 cm










780.896041 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K


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