’61 Daily Dose For British Black Music Month June 1-July 31 (From 50 Year History To Future Rulers)’ A #BBMM 2021 Spotify Playlist Curated by Kwaku BBM
The consumption of music has definitely changed in the last few years. Yes, there are still some hardcore, die-hard vinylphiles (hey, vinyl has ben making a comeback😄 💪🏾 in recent times), and old school lovers of CDs, like Kwaku BBM, are coming round to finally embrace the streaming culture. Having set up a BBM Spotify real estate – http://bit.ly/BBMeditor – we invite you to visit any time from June 1 and as many times as you can. And don’t to follow and like.
Although all the records for the 61 days are to be listed here, we hope you will go with the flow, which is to spend the day (re-)discovering the record or parent album of a particular date.
The June tracks are taken from a list compiled by Kwaku BBM in an article published here in 2017 entitled ’30 British Black Music Albums To Mark African History Month @ 30′. It marked the 30 years of celebrating Black/African History Month in the UK, by highlighting 30 albums from those featured in the 2017 Lloyd Bradley-curated Black Cultural Archives exhibition entitled ‘Black Sound: Black British Music’s Journey Of Creative Independence’.
These 30 albums span from 1971 to 2012, and form the “history” part of the Playlist’s sub-title. They are meant to form your June listening repertoire. The “future” is represented by mainly younger or newer acts, and the recordings cover 2013-2021. We hope many of the acts in this section, who can be listened to in July, will take British Black Music forward into the future.
There’s 50 years of recording history represented here! Perhaps the elders will especially try discovering the newer “modern” music, whilst the younger ones make an effort to discover some of Britain’s vintage “foundation” music.
Happy listening. Whether your taste is for the vintage “history”, or the newish or “future” music, we hope you discover enough here to enjoy!
Note: Although genres such as grime and Afrobeats have raised the profile of British black music because of their recent crossover, commercial success, many of the biggest records of these genres aren’t represented here. And that simply because any records or albums that overwhelmingly attract the Parental Advisory or Explicit status, assault our ears. That’s why you’ll hardly hear those sort of recording.
For all British Black Music Month and International London UK event: https://BBM.eventbrite.com.
Curated by Kwaku BBM for British Black Music Month 2021
THE IDEA IS TO ON ANY PARTICULAR DAY EXPLORE THE SELECTED TRACK AND ALBUM OR ANY RECORDINGS OF THE ARIST OF THE DAY >>> ALLOW YOURSELF TO GO ON A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY!!
JUNE 1 Osibisa ‘Osibisa’ 1971
This pan-African band managed to cross over their West African and African Caribbean influence mixed with a bit of rock and loads of jazz long before world music was coined.
JUNE 2 Cymande ‘Cymande’ 1972
This band mixed Rasta inspirations, jazz, funk to create dance-floor classics such as ‘Bra’ and ‘The Message’, both sampled by ‘90s American rappers.
JUNE 3 The Real Thing ‘4 From 8’ 1977
The Amoo brothers’ creative control on their sophomore set delivered a sophisticated offering, including the jazz/soul socio-conscious standard ‘Children Of The Ghetto’.
JUNE 4 Hi Tension ‘Hi Tension’ 1978
The only album by this group from Brent, it contains two crossover Brit-funk hits, ‘Hi Tension’ and ‘British Hustle’, which respectively made the top 20 and 10.
JUNE 5 Steel Pulse ‘Handsworth Revolution’ 1978
This Brummie band helped define the British reggae band sound with songs about Marcus Garvey, Rastafari, and disenfranchised African youth vignettes.
JUNE 6 Tradition ‘Moving On’ 1978
Another band out of the north-west London borough of Brent, Tradition covered roots and lovers rock, of which the latter’s typified by ‘Every Little Beat Of My Heart’.
JUNE 7 Light Of The World ‘Light Of The World’ 1979
The opening track ‘Swinging’ powerfully showed off the band’s jazz-funk chops – riffing guitars and horns, phat b-line, and irresistible percussive grooves.
JUNE 8 Imagination ‘Body Talk’ 1981
The band’s questionable fashion sense shouldn’t detract from the top-notch production, phat bass, Leee John’s attention-grabbing vocals, and fine songcraft that straddles Brit-funk and disco.
JUNE 9 Linx ‘Intuition’ 1981
Oh gosh – how many times did I play this album? Lots! Simply because Linx produced clever, pop-friendly Brit-funk gems like the classic ‘You’re Lying’.
JUNE 10 (6-8PM Black Music Congress 2021: ‘Sounding Off: What’s The Way Forward For British Black Music?) Courtney Pine ‘Journey To The Urge Within’ 1986
Although this first British jazz album to breach the pop top 40 has some fine original material, the Sasaye Greene-featured cover of The Real Thing’s soulful socio-commentary ‘Children Of The Ghetto’ absolutely dominates.
JUNE 11 Neneh Cherry ‘Raw Like Sushi’ 1988
A sassy rapper, as evidenced by the electro-driven UK and US top 5 hit ‘Buffalo Stance’, Neneh demonstrated fine singing talent on the part-rapped cuts like ‘Inna City Mamma’.
JUNE 12 Soul II Soul ‘Club Classics Vol. 1’ 1989
A chart-topping album, its beats were copied by others for years. It contains the underground fave ‘Fairplay’ and the massive ‘Keep On Movin’’
JUNE 13 Omar ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ 1990
In 1990 multi-instrumentalist and singer Omar’s debut’s title track was the lick on pirate and emerging legal black music radio before a major re-release of the album a year later.
JUNE 14 Rebel MC ‘Rebel MC’ 1990
This includes crossover hits like the reggae-infused ‘Just Keep Rockin’’, though on ‘Street Tuff’, he had reason for explaining himself by rapping “Is he a Yankee? No I’m a Londoner”.
JUNE 15 Massive Attack ‘Blue Lines’ 1991
Very innovative and the calling card for the multi-genre blending trip-hop style. Contains the sublime ‘Unfinished Sympathy’.
JUNE 16 FBI ‘F.B.I.’ 1992
Discovered this mid-1970s album from Kongo’s 1992 rare groove-inspired re-release. Contains real live, feel-good soul, funk, and jazz-funk, like ‘Talking About Love’.
JUNE 17 (6-8PM: BBMM2021: ‘Copyright And Producers In/Of Black Music’) Maxi Priest ‘Fe Real’ 1992
Laden with the ubiquitous Soul II Soul breakbeat, this radio-friendly, pop and soul tinged reggae album contains three modest hit singles including ‘One More Chance’.
JUNE 18 Incognito ‘Vibes & Scribes’ 1992
With Incognito you get quality jazz funk, such as ‘Closer To The Feeling, instrumentals like ‘Pyramids’, and delicious vocal-led jazzy soul cuts.
JUNE 19 Fela Ransome-Kuti & Nigeria 70 ‘Fela’s London Scene’ 1994
Discovered this 1971 recording from Stern’s 1994 re-issue. This established Fela’s Afrobeat template of socio-politically-tipped pidgin and Yoruba singing/rapping and instrumental solos over rock-solid rhythms.
JUNE 20 Goldie ‘Timeless’ 1995
The 20 minute-plus ‘Timeless’ suite, dominated by Diane Charlemagne’s amazing vocals and sophisticated arrangements, established this album as a drum & bass classic.
JUNE 21 Mark Morrison ‘Return Of The Mack’ 1996
Credible R&B album that even the Yanks bought into. Talented Mark’s debut produced seven UK hit singles, including the chart-topping title track, which reached no. 2 in the US but sold more copies than what was no.1!
JUNE 22 Craig David ‘Born To Do It’ 2000
This slick R&B/garage chart-topper would have had three chart-topping singles had the record company not mis-calculated stocks of my favourite – the mellifluous pop-tinged ‘Walking Away’.
JUNE 23 Various Artists ‘Black British Swing’ 2001
Swing tracks recorded pre-Windrush in the 1930s/40s London by African big bands led by the likes of the sauve Guyanese Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson.
JUNE 24 Ms Dynamite ‘A Little Deeper’ 2002
Garage rapper Ms Dynamite demonstrated her talent as an R&B singer, with a little reggae in the mix, on this Mercury Prize winner. Dy-Na-Mi-Tee!
JUNE 25 Beverley Knight ’Who I Am’ 2002
The third of her consistently quality albums, this contains the rocky, hip-hoppy bittersweet ‘Shoulda Woulda Coulda’, and ‘Gold’, one of the deepest ballads ever!
JUNE 26 Various Artists ‘London Is The Place For Me Vol. 2’ 2005
1950s African British diaspora’s multi-cultural offer of South African kwela, West African highlife, and Caribean calypo including Mona Baptiste’s ironically blissful ‘Calypso Blues’.
JUNE 27 Silas Zephania ’War Begins Where Reason Ends’ 2010
Proof that conscious rap can rock and still drop knowledge, be it bigging up mum, commenting on war, or delivering head-nodding rhymes on African history.
JUNE 28 Labrinth ‘Electronic Earth’ 2012
This producer-turned-artist proved most innovative with electronica, synthy-pop, rock and hip-hop forming the building blocks of this hits-laden album.
JUNE 29 Emeli Sande ‘Our Version of Events’ 2012
From the moment one hears the rocking breakbeats, classy arrangements and Emeli’s dulcet tones on ‘Heaven’, a pleasing listening experience is assured. This was 2012’s biggest-selling album and the runner-up in 2013.
JUNE 30 FKA twigs ‘Papi Pacify’ (‘EP2’) 2013
Certainly in her own lane, plying her idiosyncratic avant-garde offering of haunting, dubby soundscapes, topped by her ethereal vocals.
JULY 1 (5.30pm-12am: International Reggae Day London UK. My favourite Brit reggae track: ‘Back To Africa) Aswad ‘Aswad’ 1976
This creditable and insightful debut highlighted socio-political themes, like the magnificent ‘Back To Africa’, which spoke to disenfranchised African youths and Rastafarians.
JULY 2 Laura Mvula ‘Diamonds’ (’Sing To The Moon’) 2013
Mellow, soul-jazz like something from a modern day Nina Simone. From Mvula’s career-breaking debut album.
JULY 3 Akala ’Malcolm Said’/‘Maangamizi’ (‘The Thieves Banquet’) 2013
We love the pan-Africanist-focused ode ‘Malcolm said’, but as the last #BBMM2021 day highlights #Music, #MusicIndustry #Racism and #Afriphobia, we to end with ‘Maangamizi’!
JULY 4 Aysha Loren ‘Keep It Like It Is’ (‘Back To You’) 2014
Highlighting this track just to point out that Aysha does a creditable job covering the lovers rock classic. However, for those who love fine female vocals, reggae and soul in equal measure, that what she delivers on the album.
JULY 5 Askala Selassie ‘Love You Always’ (‘Put Jah First’) 2014
A nice song, which in a midst of Rastafari-facing collection, seems to ambiguously straddle the carnal and spiritual.
JULY 6 (6-8pm: ‘Musicians: Understanding Your Rights, Income Streams And Music Industry Alphabet Soup’) Fuse ODG ‘Letter To TINA’ (’T.I.N.A’) 2014
Not one of the many crossover Afrobeats hits on his debut album. This opener has a higher aim: “to change the perception of Africa”. BTW, TINA stands for This Is New Africa.
JULY 7 Ayanna Witter-Johnson ’A Single Sun’ (‘Black Panther’) 2014
A frustrated plea from an optimistic voice hoping a deluded lover will come back to reality. EP includes simple but blinding cover of ‘Grandma’s Hands’.
JULY 8 Kwabs ‘Love + War’ (‘Love + War’) 2015
From the very moment we heard title track opener, this soul singer’s over a groove with a b-line reminiscent of electro classic ‘Al-Naafiysh’, had us hooked! ‘Layback’ and enjoy this impressive soulster.
JULY 9 Ella Eyre ’Together’/‘Even If’ (‘Feline’) 2015
Whilst ’Together’ and ‘Good Times’ form the hands-in-the-air rollicking drum & bassers typical on the album, the mood is changed with the big, pop-soul ballad ‘Even If’.
JULY 10 Randy Valentine ‘Black Cinderella’ (‘Still Pushing’) 2015
Randy effortlessly rides ‘Roots & Culture’ as he does delivering this sweet lovers rock, underpinned by Joe Ariwa’s punchy, and hubby production. ‘Consequences’!
JULY 11 Marla Brown ‘Better Days’ (‘Deliverance’) 2015
Marla name-checks her father, the Reggae Crown Prince, on this bubbly song of optimism. This is how Diana Ross would have sounded like, if she sang reggae.
JULY 12 Nao ‘Inhale Exhale’ (‘For All We Know’) 2016
Don’t let her wispy vocals, like the Kate Bush-echoing ‘In The Morning’, fool you – she can rock it on the funkiest grooves, like this head-nodder.
JULY 13 JULY 13 Izzy Bizu ‘Give Me Love’ (‘Moment Of Madness’) 2016
From a fine album, The Adam & The Ants’ Burundi drumming style that underpins this superb R&Ber’s rhythm is thankfully interspersed by slow, cool moments.
JULY 14 Michael Kiwanuka ‘Cold Little Heart’ (‘Love & Hate’) 2016
This slow building, sumptuously orchestrated rock-soul song magnificently opens the artist’s sophomore album. Love the rawk geetars and backing vocals!
JULY 15 Sampha ‘What Shouldn’t I Be?’ (‘Process’) 2017
This moody, haunting track closes the deserving Mercury Prize winning album full of varying musical fusions and fantastic soundscapes. A very accomplished debut offering.
JULY 16 Grace Carter ’Silhouette’ (‘Why Not Me’) 2018
This pop ballad and the parent EP bodes well for hopefully a soon-come debut album.
JULY 17 Novelist ‘Man Better Jump’ (‘Novelist Guy’) 2018
This sub-bass driven track comes from an album that could well be the 2010s’ ‘Boy In Da Corner’.
JULY 18 Jorja Smith ‘Teenage Fantasy’/‘Blue Lights’ (‘Lost & Found’) 2018
Probably one of the coolest, truest teenage love songs ever. Sad that 50 years on ‘Blue Lights’ feature in the lives of many young African youths. Like nothing’s changed.
JULY 19 Chucky Bantan ’Now You’re My Wife’ (‘More Life’) 2019
The singer practically wants to shout, ok sing, about his new wife and life! A lovers rock classic in waiting. Album includes the pensive collabo with Supa 4 ’Sometimes’.
JULY 20 Mabel ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ (’High Expectations’) 2019
A thumping groove powers this ‘see ya’ tune from an album full of dance music genre hopping bad gal tunes.
JULY 21 Teshay Makeda ‘OMG’ – 2019
An impressive reggae artist who fuses a sweet soulful vibe with a pounding reggae groove on this song, which reflects on doubts about one’s faith. Apart from this single, Teshay has an eponymous EP.
JULY 22 (6-9pm: BBMM2021 Queens Of Sound: Women & Reggae screening + discussion forum) Mahalia ‘Do Not Disturb’ (‘Love And Compromise’) 2019
“Don’t call me, don’t text me,” Mahalia forcefully asserts, as she finally lets an errant beau know that there’s no more coming back, over a bitter-sweet soulster underpinned by a heavy kick drum.
JULY 23 Kianja ‘Glory’ (‘Glory’) 2019
Judging by the evidence of this piano and deep b-lined, slo-mo soulster, and the other of singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kianja’s music that’s spread across two EPs and other projects, her debut album’s going be awesome.
JULY 24 Sista Miriam ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’ (‘Just Jammin’) 2020
Known this bubbly women’s anthem highlighting the strife and stress women have to go through for ages, so glad to see the album was released last year. Includes the soul-jazzer ‘You Can’t Hide It’.
JULY 25 2Badda ‘One Voice’/’The Awakening’ – 2020
Right now 2Badda is the hottest man on road rapper dropping pointed, socio-conscious rhymes, and on ‘Voice’ he drops an urgent, tuff Afriphile anthem with Cookie’s mellifluous vocals giving it a sweet touch. On account of a reminder of the day we raise issues of music, racism and Afriphobia at the RE:IMI forum on July 31, we make an exception by highlighting the Parental Advisory ‘The Awakening’, simply because this post-George Floyd track speaks to the issues. Check out the video here.
JULY 26 Morgan Munroe ‘Stronger Than Me’ – 2020
Discovered this talented singer on last year’s ‘Flash Black’ event. This single is quality jazzy soul.
JULY 27 Shabaka And The Ancestors ‘’Til The Freedom Comes Home’. (‘We Were Sent Here By History’) 2020
After the 10 minute-plus lead in track, everything else is bonus, such as the funky, “Rastafari”-chanting, urgent sax solo-dominated ‘’Til The Freedom Comes Home’.
JULY 28 Leah Music ‘A Letter To The World’ -, 2020
The first of this sassy, so assured teenager’s two single-deep career, this deep, pointed socio-conscious record, was released following George Floyd’s Afriphobic murder. The way she dealt directly, yet musically accessible manner, bodes well for her yet to be released debut album.
JULY 29 Sons Of Kemet ‘For The Culture’ (‘Black To The Future’) 2021
Perhaps the most pan-African-vibed British jazz act add patois-chatting to its musical menu. Followed by dulcet sax lines over ’To Never Forget The Source’.
JULY 30 Celeste ‘I’m Here’ (‘Not Your Muse Deluxe’). 2021
Sultry, earthy vocals from a cross between Sade and Adele, the album had several strong songs to choose from. In the end, we chose this cut, which is typical of her sophisticated neo-soul-jazz style.
JULY 31 (6-9pm: British History, Black Music, Racism & The Music Industry 1507-2020
#BritishHistory #BlackMusic #MusicIndustry #Racism #Afriphobia screening + discussion forum) Dave ‘Black Brits 2020 Version’ – 2020
A family-friendly version* available only here http://bit.ly/DaveBlackBrits2020 (appropriate soundtrack to tonight’s forum), performed simply yet powerfully at the 2020 Brits show with added lines that bigged up London Bridge victim Jack Merritt and railed against “racist” Prime Minister Boris Johnson, giving added edge to an impressive socio-conscious song. *As this is not commercially available, it’s substituted in the Playlist by Sparky Rugged’s reggae ’History’ rendition from ‘Born By Da Speaker Box’ (2018)