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The Wire's Clarke Peters uncovers the stories of black musicians in Europe, from the birth of recorded sound to the height of the jazz age.

The Wire's Clarke Peters draws on a rare collection of archive recordings to explore a forgotten musical history.

Received wisdom has it that black popular music arrived in Europe with the Empire Windrush in 1948, but Clarke brings us black sounds recorded in Europe from as far back as 1900.

Focusing on early commercial discs made in the recording studios of London, Paris and Berlin, we hear from dozens of different performers, including African American travelling entertainers, traditional African musicians, black British classical composers and more.

Episode 1 - 1900-1910
Clarke discovers a huge variety of black music recorded in Europe at the start of the 20th century, including very early examples of blues harmonica, scat singing and stride piano. The programme also includes some of the earliest African music ever recorded, from Senegalese war songs captured at the Paris World Fair in 1900 to the music of a troupe of Congolese pygmies who toured Britain in 1905-07.

Much of the music in this series is drawn from Black Europe, a vast boxset issued by Bear Family Records and documenting the sounds of the era.
With readings by Paterson Joseph.

Produced by Tom Woolfenden
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Tue 19 Dec 2017 21:30

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Music Played

  • Georgia Pickaninnies

    Coontown's Ragtime Dance

    • BLACK EUROPE BOX (BEAR FAMILY RECORDS).
    • (BEAR FAMILY RECORDS).
  • Seth Weeks

    Georgia Camp Meeting

    • BLACK EUROPE BOX (BEAR FAMILY RECORDS).
    • (BEAR FAMILY RECORDS).
  • Belle Davis

    The Honeysuckle And The Bee

    • BLACK EUROPE BOX (BEAR FAMILY RECORDS).
  • Rev Ransom Kuti

    Gba Wa Olorun

    • BLACK EUROPE BOX (BEAR FAMILY RECORDS).
  • Pete Hampton

    BILL BAILEY Won’t You Please Come Home

    • BLACK EUROPE BOX (BEAR FAMILY RECORDS).
  • Pete Hampton

    Mouth-Organ coon

  • Charles Manny and Bob Roberts

    All Night Long

  • Carlisle and Wellman

    Chip Chip

  • Fisk Jubilee Singers

    Swing Low Sweet Chariot

  • Frances Walker

    Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child

  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

    Onaway Awake beloved

  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

    Hiawathas Wedding Feast

  • Toucouleur-Bambara

    2 CHANTE DE GUERRE

  • Silas Seth Weeks

    Handicap March

  • The Pygmies

    FOLK SONGS OF THE PYGMIES (2516 e)

  • The Pygmies

    Conversation Between Bokani The Chief

  • Colin Turnbull

    Clementine (Batwa Pygmoids)

  • Louis Mitchell

    Une Femme Qui Passe

Broadcasts

  • Tue 19 Dec 2017 09:00
  • Tue 19 Dec 2017 21:30