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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Black Music In Europe: A Hidden History: BBC Radio 4 - April 21


The last programme in the series concerned black music influences mainly in Spain, the Netherlands and Britain during the 1970's. Franco died in 1975 and flamenco music had been encouraged as part of Spanish heritage, though actually this music was from diverse roots, having Jewish, African and other elements. Franco's death brought new freedoms in music.

Portugal's dictator was toppled in 1974 and the colonies such as Mozambique and Cape Verde became independent and repression was lifted. Cape Verdeans arrived in Portugal to find that they had access to modern instruments such as synthesisers and drum machines which had been unavailable back home. They embraced this wider musical world, especially by holding dances.


One third of the population of Suriname emigrated to the Netherlands on gaining independence and they started to play jazz/funk, notably a skilled flute player who enjoyed the music of James Brown, Cliff Richard, Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In 1977 Ronald Snijders produced an album of jazz/funk which had elements of classical music. He also played a fusion of funk with Surinamese native music which was not generally popular because of racist prejudice.

1970's Britain saw the rise of the National Front and the opposing Rock Against Racism movement, with bands such as the Jamaican Steel Pulse. Similar movements arose in Germany and France. Remember the song Young, Gifted And Black  from this period, sung by Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths? From London came the 'Willesden Sound' which was a combination of Jamaican music overlayed with string instruments. 'Lovers' Rock' was born in London, a mix of soul and pop, which was especially popular with female listeners, producing songs such as I'm So Sorry (Louise Marks) and Janet Kay's  Silly Games. The latter had a complex drum pattern and some very high notes for the singer, as we heard in the recording.

In conclusion Clarke Peters emphasised that black music was an indelible part of European music and the listener would surely add that this trend has continued to the present day. Jazz is a large part of that continuation.
Ann Alex

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