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52 GENRES & COUNTING...Charting the History of Black Music.  Multimedia Artist Rebecca Smith and audio producer Jimmy Power worked with the SKN Heritage Museum to chart a dynamic representation of the history of Black music in the UK. Shown at Splendour Festival, as part of a wider installation piece;

Music unifies us all and is a pivotal part of Caribbean culture. Music is also a way of building bridges across ethnic groups and society as a whole. It’s well known that black people have been in the UK since 1700 but most Caribbeans arrived between 1947 and the late 60s, a group known as the ‘Windrush Generation’. They brought colour and vibrancy to the UK along with their brand of music.

How did these pioneers move to and become part of a country whose government invited them but where they were not always welcome? Despite the prejudice and signs that said, “No Irish, no dogs, no blacks”, black people were able to use their talent to make their mark in the music industry, creating new genres of music that bring people of different races together.

Have you ever listened to a song or piece of music and thought to yourself this song sounds like… or that hook reminds me of… or is just a speeded up version of that old classic etc.? It seems most genres of music have come from a form of black music.  Studies have been done charting the history of black American music but not black music in the UK (as far as we know) until now. We’ve charted the contribution of black Britons to music, including those that immigrated or recorded music here.  This exhibition charts their amazing and continuing contribution to the UK’s music scene.




Moving Image

Rebecca Smith

Original Music Score

Jimmy Power


Commissioned By

Museum And | The National Caribbean Heritage Museum


Research Data

Museum And


Splendour Festival

Anchor 1
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