Black London was at last making a niche for itself through music. Sounds Like London , a thoroughly enjoyable cultural history, captures the excitement and beauty of a music that changed the face of Britain for good.
Buy Sounds Like London: Years of Black Music in the Capital Main by Lloyd Bradley (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low. For as long as people have been migrating to London, so has their music. An essential link to home, music also has the power to shape communities in.
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T he story of black music and London goes back almost as far as black people have been coming — or being brought — to the English capital. They carried themselves with pride, too: once, in the 18th century, a bandsman was sauntering down the Strand when he was accosted by a stranger who mocked him: "Well, blackie. What news from the devil? How you like it? Lloyd Bradley's history of black music in London begins in with the arrival from New York of the piece Southern Syncopated Orchestra.
Some players felt that coming from London was a handicap. The s reggae band Matumbi actually released their first record on a white label so that tastemakers would assume it came from Jamaica. While many historians have written at length about the importance of pirate radio in the city's underground music ecologies, few have highlighted the role of estate agents who sold promoters the keys for empty properties at which they could stage parties.
This is an invaluably materialist book that is often at its most enlightening when it recounts the dramas of distribution — label bosses circulating their records via an alternative network of barbers, grocers, hairdressers and travel agents, for example. In spite of its subtitle, Sounds Like London has little to say about the early 20th century.