Clarke Peters uncovers the stories of black music in Europe, from the Jazz Age to the 1950s.
Drawing on rare archive recordings, Clarke Peters' new three-part series explores the hidden history of black music across Europe, from the late 1920s through the war years and beyond.
Black music in Europe doesn’t begin with the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury. There is a long, rich history preserved on shellac discs that shows how diverse sounds enthralled the continent long before 1948.
Throughout the series, we hear from a huge array of different performers - including classical composers, jazz stars, calypso legends and more - as well as commentators and historians, to get to the heart of early black music in Europe.
Episode 2 - 1939-45
Clarke looks at the music of black Europe at the time of the Second World War with recordings of Nazi propaganda jazz, underground bands in Hitler’s Germany, black American trumpet stars in occupied Paris, and Caribbean swing bands playing through the Blitz in London. He also examines the work of Nigerian composer Fela Sowande and plays extracts of his wartime broadcast for the BBC.
Presented by Clarke Peters
Produced by Tom Woolfenden
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4