SEARCH DATE RANGE

SEARCH TERM OR WORD

Beyond the Bassline: 500 Years of Black British Music opens at the British Library  

 

  • First exhibition to document the 500-year musical journey of African and Caribbean people in Britain opens at the British Library and in local libraries across the UK 

  • Soul II Soul, Ezra Collective, Joan Armatrading, D Double E and George the Poet events confirmed and landmark publication including essays by musicians, writers and photographers, including Chardine Taylor-Stone, Juliet Fletcher, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Benjamin Zephaniah, published 

  • Free display of photographs from Liz Johnson Artur’s Black Balloon Archiveexplores representations of pleasure, intimacy, beauty and love 

  

Opening at the British Library tomorrow, Beyond the Bassline(running until 26 August 2024) is the first major exhibition to document the 500-year musical journey of African and Caribbean people in Britain.  

The British Library is home to one of the largest collections of sound recordings in the world and Beyond the Bassline explores the people, spaces and genres that have transformed the landscape of British music. It celebrates music as a form of entertainment and vehicle for community, as well as a source of liberation, protest and education.  

Encompassing more than 200 exhibits, many going on public display for the first time, highlights include:  

  • Handwritten accounts from 1512 listing the materials for the wedding outfit of John Blanke, the earliest recorded musician of African descent in Britain – a gift from King Henry VIII 

  • The Peacock, the 2019 winning Carnival Queen costume measuring over 4m high andwide, on loan from Hughbon Condor, High Esteem Carnival Designs, Leeds 

  • Leading jazz musician Coleridge Goode’s diary from 1958 with notes on his performances 

  • The video camera used by Jamal Edwards, who at the age of 16 founded SB.TV, the first YouTube channel dedicated to Black British music, on loan from the Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust 

  • A jacket custom made for Skin, lead vocalist of Skunk Anansie, who challenged the music industry’s perception of a female artist with her bold, androgynous style 

  • Stormzy’s signed set list for his iconic Glastonbury performance in 2019 and the bottle of champagne he toasted with to celebrate being the first solo Black British musician to headline the festival, on loan from 0207 Def Jam 

  • Trilby, shirt and scarf from Pauline Black, lead singer of Two-Tone band The Selecter 

  • Dennis Bovell’s 1970s Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, which was pivotal in his band Matumbi’s sound, and played on lovers’ rock anthem, Silly Games by Janet Kay 

  • The double bass Gary Crosby learned to play on and has played with bands the Jazz Warriors and Jazz Jamaica 

 

Beyond the Bassline is divided into different spaces that form a loose chronology of 500 years of Black music in Britain, from The Ocean (1500s-1870s) through to On Stage (1880s-1960s), The Frontlines (1950s-1980s), In the Record Shop (1960s-1980s) and Cyberspace (1990s-2020s). Each section is “interrupted” by new soundscapes, artworks and films created by artists and community collectives from around the UK.  

Foregrounding voices from Cardiff, Birmingham, London and Leeds, the new “interruptions” comprise: 

  • A short film by Jukebox Collective from Cardiff that captures the vast histories of Black communities in Wales, with themes of migration, identity and movement relating to the ocean, explored through the medium of dance 

  • A textile and poetic composition exploring the legacy of frontline protest music and resistance within the African Caribbean community of Leeds following a series of workshops guided by literary activist, theatre maker and published writer Khadijah Ibrahiim and visual artist Marcia Brown 

  • Mosaics honouring Rastafari culture created by charitable enterprise and network Rastafari Movement UK Wellbeing from London with an accompanying sound piece arranged by musician Roots Hitek and gospel artist Renée Landell  

  • A film madein collaboration with Roundhouse Young Filmmakersfrom London exploring the do-it-yourself spirit within Black British musicdirected by Hannah Oliver and Yvonne Shellingand a bespoke sound system made by audio builder Friendly Pressure  

  

The exhibition culminates withiwoyi: within the echo (2024), a new, five-channel 16-minute film and sound installation exploring the Black radical imagination and the potential of Black British music to manifest reparative futures. Directed and created by Tayo Rapoport and Rohan Ayinde in collaboration with Errol and Alex Rita's Touching Bass, the film is produced by NOIR and has an original score made by Melo-Zed.

Dr Aleema Gray, lead curator of Beyond the Bassline at the British Library, said:‘The exhibition representsa timely opportunity to broaden our understanding of Black British music and situate it within a historical conversation. It brings together the people, places and moments that have formed part of the British soundtrack and an expansive cultural industry that transformed Britain. It's the continuation of an important conversation about African and Caribbean musical heritage in Britain. We want to take visitors on a musical journey through time and space to explore and appreciate a wider history of African and Caribbean presence, culture and creativity in the UK.’

Associate Professor Mykaell Riley, a founder member of the British roots reggae band Steel Pulse, Director of The Black Music Research Unit at the University of Westminster and guest curator of Beyond the Bassline, said: ‘The music celebrated in this exhibition is more than a collection of sounds. It is a living history, echoing through the centuries. It is an ode to the spirit of community and the radical force of alternative Black British music genres such as jungle, drum and bass, grime and Afrobeats. We hope the exhibition electrifies, provokes, and, most importantly, energises and inspires continued exploration into this essential facet of British cultural heritage.’ 

Beyond the Bassline at the British Library is a partnership with the Black Music Research Unit, part of the University of Westminster’s Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media. The exhibition has been curated by Dr Aleema Gray at the British Library in collaboration with Mykaell Riley at the University of Westminster and follows a three-year partnership to research, foreground and reposition six centuries of African musical contributions to the UK.  

There will be Beyond the Bassline panel displays and events at over 30 local libraries across the UK, arranged through the Living Knowledge Network, with each library’s collection, regional connections and local music scene at the core, to help tell a national story about Black music in Britain.  

  

Liz Johnson Artur – Black Balloon Archive display (until 1 September 2024) 
A selection of works from photographer Liz Johnson Artur’s Black Balloon Archive, which is described as an ode to the everyday practices of living in the African diaspora, are on display in the free Entrance Hall Gallery until 1 September 2024.Johnson Artur has personally selected 11works to explore representations of pleasure, intimacy, beauty and love. 

28 May 2024 | Press release

Proper Distribution Inks Deal with Firebird

  Agreement covers sales and physical distribution in UK/ROI & Europe The deal’s first release, Slash’s ‘Orgy of the Damned’ tops UK Jazz & Blues Albums Chart, and secures UK Albums Chart top 10 in debut week   The UK’s leading physical distributor, Proper...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

PRS for Music sets new benchmark: Songwriters and composers receive unprecedented royalty payouts of £943.6 million - a 13% increase on last year

  In 2023, PRS for Music paid out a record £943.6 million of royalties for songwriters, composers and music publishers. Total royalty distributions increased by £107.4 million (12.8%), on the previous year and are up over £266 million since 2021.   In a...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

Andrew Howell named VP, Sync at Warner Chappell Music UK

  Andrew Howell is being promoted to become Vice President of Sync at Warner Chappell Music UK (WCM UK) from 1st June.  In his new role, Howell will continue to report to Rich Robinson, EVP and Global Head of Sync, WCM,...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

Statement from CMS Committee Chair Dame Caroline Dinenage MP following announcement of a general election

Ahead of dissolution, following the announcement this week of a general election, the Chair of the CMS Committee Dame Caroline Dinenage has outlined some key achievements of the Committee and work that could be taken forward in the new Parliament. The...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

KT Tunstall celebrates Ivors honour by signing to BMG

  Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall has been awarded with one of the global music industry's most prestigious honours, the Ivor Novello Award for Oustanding Song Collection. And she celebrated the award by signing a new music publishing deal with BMG and announcing it from...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

Amazon Music announces livestreaming line up for Primavera Sound

Music fans will be able to enjoy livestreamed performances from artists including; American Football, Amyl and the Sniffers, Arab Strap, Atarashii Gakko!, Balming Tiger, Barry Can't Swim, Bikini Kill, Blonde Redhead, Charli XCX, Clipse, Derby Motoreta's, Burrito Kachimba, Dillom, Disclosure,...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

Taxi app FREENOW launches national donation campaign in support of MUSIC VENUE TRUST for third year running

The Libertines, Frank Turner, Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Steve Lamacq add support to the initiative. 16% (125) of UK Grassroots Music Venues were lost in the last 12 months with 38% of all UK grassroots music venues (GMVs)...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

Afrobeats royalty Tekno joins forces with Mr Eazi’s emPawa Africa as partner and investor

THE AWARD-WINNING NIGERIAN POP STAR ENTERS NEW ERA WITH JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN HIS CARTEL MUSIC AND EMPAWA AFRICA   Afrobeats icon and award-winning Nigerian musician and producer TEKNO is excited to usher in a new musical era with a ground-breaking new partnership...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

Warner Music Canada signs exclusive deal with multi-platinum producer Eli Brown and his label Loophole Records

  Acclaimed producer ELI BROWN, best known for his work as a producer for artists like Drake, Giveon, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Chris Brown has signed an exclusive deal with Warner Music Canada.  This partnership will see ELI BROWN developing and signing artists...more

28 May 2024 | Press release

DICE launches Extras for event creators to sell directly to fans

  Extras is part of DICE’s new marketplace which will enable event creators to offer enriched experiences and auxiliary products to fans, in addition to their concert tickets In the past six months, Extras has shown significant growth in Beta, with over...more

24 May 2024 | Press release

The Courtyard Studios Announces Its Summer Video Releases

The Courtyard Studios proudly announces its latest project: the summer video releases, filmed, and recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, showcasing the talents of emerging artists in an unprecedented live session experience. With 12 captivating releases, featuring one interview...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Raye and Jess Glynne collaborator Jin Jin inks global publishing deal with Concord Music Publishing

  Concord Music Publishing proudly announces a new global publishing agreement with platinum-selling English songwriter, Jin Jin. This comprehensive deal encompasses all forthcoming works. With nominations for prestigious awards including Grammy, Ivor Novello, and Brit Awards, as well as being the recipient...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Teenage Cancer Trust concerts at the Royal Albert Hall breaks fundraising record for the charity

This year’s week of fundraising concerts for Teenage Cancer Trust at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall over 18th to 24th March were truly historic. Not only was it the final week of shows with Roger Daltrey at the helm but for the...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Mahogany launches curated distribution service, Mahogany Songs

Dom Wallace (ex. Spotify) appointed Label & Marketing Manager to lead release strategy Partners with rising singer-songwriter Áine Deane, EP due out this year Mahogany, the global multi-platform music brand best known for the Mahogany Sessions video channel, has launched Mahogany Songs,...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

40 festivals cancelled in 2024

El Dorado Festival cites ‘dramatic rise in operational costs’ as reason for cancellation.  40 UK festivals have now announced a postponement, cancellation or complete closure in 2024. Herefordshire's El Dorado Festival announced its cancellation yesterday (May 21) citing “a dramatic rise in...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

ATC Group announces co-operation agreement with leading Chinese music company Modern Sky

  ATC Group Plc is delighted to announce a new co-operation agreement with Modern Sky, one of China’s longest established and leading independent music companies.  The arrangement seeks to expand the global presence of the Modern Sky brand and its talent and...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Landlord fails to evict The Leadmill

The Leadmill wins first battle in court with the judge saying he believed they had “a real prospect of success” The Leadmill has taken one step closer in its bid for survival in the eviction battle against its landlord. The case was...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Black & Irish recognised with Impala’s Changemaker award for their inspirational efforts promoting equity, diversity and inclusion

IMPALA announces the recipient of its Changemaker Award 2024: Black & Irish, an Irish not-for-profit organisation advocating for the black community in Ireland, fostering connections within Irish society and championing an anti-racist ethos.  Black & Irish was founded almost four years...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Warner Chappell Music sign songwriter and producer Toby Daintree

Daintree co-wrote the global Number One smash ‘i like the way you kiss me’ by Artemas  Warner Chappell Music (WCM), the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has signed a global publishing deal with songwriter and producer Toby Daintree.  Daintree has recently...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Kavi signs Co-Publishing Deal with Brandon Silverstein's S10 Publishing & Avex USA

Producer Behind Global #1 Single Tommy Richman's "Million Dollar Baby"  Today, Brandon Silverstein's S10 Publishing and Avex USA announced a worldwide co-publishing deal with Kavi, the producer behind the current #1 global single "Million Dollar Baby" by Tommy Richman. This week, "Million...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Winners of The Ivors 2024 with Amazon Music announced

 SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARDED TO RAYE BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN PRESENTED FELLOWSHIP OF THE ACADEMY BY PREVIOUS FELLOW SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY 'GIFT OF THE ACADEMY' AWARDS ALSO PRESENTED TO LANA DEL REY, SKEPTA, KT TUNSTALL AND BERNIE TAUPIN YUSSEF DAYES CLAIMS BEST ALBUM FOR BLACK CLASSICAL...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Sony Music Publishing UK Renews Global Deal with Gorgon City

Gorgon City launches REALM Publishing in partnership with SMP, announces first signing with Riordan   Sony Music Publishing UK today announced the renewal of its exclusive global publishing agreement with renowned electronic/dance music duo Gorgon City. Additionally, Gorgon City has launched REALM...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

David El Sayegh elected as the new President of GESAC

GESAC General Assembly also elects its new Board for 2024-2026 mandate.   GESAC, the European Grouping of Authors' Societies (CMOs) gathering 32 authors' societies from the European Union, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, and representing as such more than one million authors nd...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

Independent booking agency Runway expands by hiring Louise McGovern

  - Formerly at Midnight Mango, Louise's roster includes Alien Chicks, KEG, Jaws The Shark, Dutch Criminal Record and Jade Helliwell  - Runway also announces a promotion for Amy Grieg (The Wytches, Babymarocco, Flat Party, King Nun and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard) - The...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

WE, THE LEADERS legacy programme for WOMEX 24 in Manchester announced

  Manchester Music City, the host partner for this year's WOMEX (Worldwide Music Expo), has today (23 May 2024) announced further details of its legacy programme, WE, THE LEADERS, which will include showcases, leadership training, commissions, industry roundtables, TED-style leadership lectures, a supplementary schools...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

EMMA announces a new partnership with beatBread to boost the European music management sector

The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) is delighted to announce a new partnership with the AI-driven music funding platform, beatBread, that will benefit more than 3,000 managers based across Europe.  Using an algorithm that uses billions of data points to forecast...more

23 May 2024 | Press release

American Express presents BST Hyde Park 2024

OPEN HOUSE returns for 2024! Enjoy the long days and warm summer nights with 8 days of activities and FREE entry in the heart of Hyde Park!   All Things Orchestral, Norman Jay (MBE) presents Good Times, Angels of The North - with...more

22 May 2024 | Press release

Shufti Pro and .MUSIC partner to authenticate music identities and protect global music community against AI impersonation

In the new age of AI-powered musical impersonation, deepfakes and bots, an artist's greatest asset in the digital world is their Name, Image, Likeness, and Voice (NILV). Today, identity verification is essential to ensure trust, integrity, and authenticity. .MUSIC and...more

22 May 2024 | Press release

The Web3 Music Association unveils platform for education, innovation and collaboration

Music Companies Join Forces to Explore Opportunities in the Advanced Technology Space   The Web3 Music Association (W3M), a new music industry trade body facilitating industry-wide research and development, has announced its official launch.   A global organisation, W3M brings together influential entities...more

22 May 2024 | Press release

LIVE launch ‘Powered By Freelancers - the Live Music Edition 2024’

UK Music Industry’s First, Comprehensive Study of Freelancers in the Live Sector Reveals Both Optimism and Concerns 60% of Freelancers ‘Optimistic’ about the Next 12 Months but Changes Still Needed LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment), which represents 16 live music...more

28 May 2024

  • What Suno's $125m round means for AI & music (see Comment)

  • What the General Election could mean for the music business, ticketing, AI and big tech (see Analysis)

24 May 2024

  • The Ivors: Winners announced (see News)

  • Is the music business too afraid of big, bad AI? (see Opinion)

  • A changing music industry expands to $100 billion in revenues. For whom? (see Analysis)

23 May 2024

  • Are kids losing their love for music? (see Comment)

  • Apple’s 100 Best Albums list is ridiculous and exists almost expressly to make you mad (see News)

22 May 2024

  • Apple is not the only one crushing the old music-making paradigm (see Comment)

21 May 2024

  • Government says it will bring forward AI training rules (see News)

20 May 2024

  • Music rightsholders reach their ‘or what?’ moment with AI (see Comment)

17 May 2024

  • Analysis of yesterday's Rajar Q1 2024 results (see Media)

  • How the music industry is in a new age of arrogance (see Opinion)

16 May 2024

  • Rajars Q1 - commercial radio on the rise (see Media)

15 May 2024

  • Musicians share stories about struggling to make ends (see Features)

14 May 2024

  • Proper enters new era (see Business)

  • A perspective on the health of the UK's live industry (see Features)