Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital by Lloyd Bradley

By Lloyd Bradley

For so long as humans were migrating to London, so has their track. an important hyperlink to domestic, track additionally has the facility to form groups in outstanding methods. Black song has been a part of London's panorama because the First international struggle, whilst the Southern Syncopated Orchestra introduced jazz to the capital. Following the wave of Commonwealth immigration, its sounds and kinds took up place of dwelling to develop into the basis of the city's adolescence tradition. appears like London tells the tale of the tune and the larger-than-life characters making it, visiting from Soho jazz golf equipment to Brixton blues events to King's go warehouse raves to the streets of Notting Hill - and onto sound structures all over the place. in addition to a trip in the course of the musical historical past of London, feels like London is ready the shaping of a urban, and in flip the complete state, via track. participants comprise Eddy furnish, Osibisa, Russell Henderson, Dizzee Rascal and Trevor Nelson, with an advent through Soul2Soul's Jazzie B.

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Extra info for Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital

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Dunbar also conducted the Berlin Philharmonic in 1945, and conducted in Russia, the US and Poland. Whenever he could, he’d perform works by black composers. Being Guyanese, however, Dunbar was in the minority among London’s overwhelmingly Trinidadian musical contingent. Because Trinidad had its own unique music scene, centred on calypso, its players tended to be more evolved. Double-bassist Al Jennings came over in the 1920s, and led his own bands through the 1930s and 1940s, most notably at the Kit Kat Club in the Haymarket – in the basement of the building that until recently housed the Odeon cinema – and at the Hammersmith Palais.

West Indians who endured that period speak of attitudes that varied between openly welcome, outright hostile and completely indifferent in pretty much equal measure. In the years during and immediately after the war, native Londoners made very little attempt to engage with the new arrivals. That wasn’t simply a matter of racism, although there was no shortage of that. It was more the case that the city, being naturally insular, was still recovering from the Luftwaffe onslaught and the wider implications of being at war.

Lord Kitchener, seen here with a double bass, was an accomplished musician as well as a singer. In such an environment, calypso was massively important to the new arrivals, who felt an understandable sense of disconnect with the West Indies they’d left behind. Hearing a new song was like getting a letter from home. It didn’t even matter that ‘home’ would always be Trinidad, the fact that it was Caribbean tended to override inter-island rivalries. Calypso’s traditions of wordplay and story-telling were embedded all over the West Indies, so a house party that spun calypso records, or a pub featuring a lyrically clever singer, would put you back in touch with who you were.

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