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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 3 - 1920-1930
Clarke explores the sounds of Zonophone records, a pioneering label that recorded a huge amount of early African popular music. Many of these discs were made in London for export to West Africa, including several Nigerian hymns recorded in 1922 by Fela Kuti's grandfather. The programme also includes the sounds of African American jazz in 1920s Paris, especially the work of Josephine Baker, the world's first black superstar.

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 9 Jan 2018 21:30

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Music Played

  • Ben Simmons

    Obu Kofi

  • M COLE & E MARTIN

    OTOPO LOGIDO

  • Louis Mitchell

    Chicago

  • SOL T. PLAATJE

    NKOSI SIKELI AFRICA

  • Joséphine Baker

    SKEEDLE UM

  • Savoy Orpheans

    Charleston

  • George Williams Aingo

    Akuku Nu Bonto

  • ROLAND NATHANIELS

    WEST AFRICAN DANCE TUNES

  • Kumasi Trio

    Asin Asin Part 2

  • Fela Ransome-Kuti Quintet

    GBA WA OLORUN

  • Fela Kuti

    Water No Get Enemy

  • The West African Instrumental Quintet

    Adersu - No 2

  • SOL T. PLAATJE

    NKOSI SIKELI AFRICA

  • LADIPO SOLANKE

    Oríkì Ègé

  • Louis Mitchell

    Chicago

  • Joséphine Baker

    DINAH

  • Joséphine Baker

    J'ai Deux Amours

  • Ciro's Club Coon Orchestra

    She'd A Hole In Her Stocking & Keep On Loving Little Girlies

  • Joséphine Baker

    BAM BAM BAMY SHORE

Broadcasts

  • Tue 9 Jan 2018 09:00
  • Tue 9 Jan 2018 21:30