Black Music in Europe

This BBC Radio 4 series presented by Clarke Peters reveals a surprising history of black music in Europe 

Drawing on a huge vault of rare archive music, Clarke Peters explores a forgotten history of black music in Europe, across three series spanning the 1900s to the present day.

Over the twelve episodes, we hear 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. Clarke uncovers the lasting influence of the black military bands who took France by storm and how freedom songs were smuggled onto shellac. We discover Congolese rumba recorded in Brussels, the emergence of the Notting Hill Carnival in London through the 1950s and early 1960s and even black flamenco in Spain. We even hear stories from today’s artists, from rapper Tommy Kuti to Afrobeat artist RayJeezy in Italy.  This series hears from modern Black musicians, commentators and historians, to get to the heart of Black music in Europe.

Presenter: Clarke Peters | Producer: Tom Woolfenden | Adviser: Jacqueline Springer |Executive Producers: Andy Smith, Maria Williams & Miranda Hinkley

"My personal interest was to have a better understanding of the role of people of colour in European music."

Clarke Peters, Radio Times

"A lot of work has gone into this series and it shows. The levels of music and speech are impeccable, the sound moving from ear to ear in your headphones"

Miranda Sawyer, The Guardian

"A rich and fascinating story. Thanks, Clarke!"

Philip Pullman, Twitter

O My Darling Clementine

Congolese spiritual songs recorded in the 1960s