The cultural significance of music, its evolution and the pioneers are often overlooked or misunderstood especially when our current musical landscape is a complex melting pot of genres, sounds and abstractions based on what came before. With the accessibility of music making and streaming today we are afforded the luxury of new music discovery as fast as we can consume it, sometimes overlooking its place in time, the lineage that paved the way and cultural evolution that might have allowed for such a sound or expression to exist.

It’s commonly understood that music transcends language, barriers and borders… it unites us and expresses the human condition as a shared experience, it empathises. Whether we like it or not music shapes who we are as people, our identities; it is our culture. If we listen deeply to the past & present, we can learn and we can build better futures.

This October, many of our clients will be joining us in celebrating Black History Month. To mark the celebration, we have chosen to highlight some of our favorite musical genres, revealing their origins and evolution through some of the most prominent black artists from across the decades. We’ll be highlighting the unsung heroes, the innovators and pioneers that have been pivotal in shaping the genres we know and love, in addition to shining a light on artists leading their scene today as they spark inspiration for the next generation.

In the wake of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, Black History Month UK celebrates cultural heritage and diversity for its ‘Proud to be’ theme in 2021. As we celebrate this through an array of rich musical journeys, we have invited writer and Journalist Marcus Barnes to collaborate with us for a deep dive into classic sounds, their origins and no doubt introducing us all to some musical discoveries along the way.

Marcus Barnes 2

Marcus: ‘I’m very fortunate to have traveled the globe thanks to my work as a music journalist and I’m always proud to tell people I’m from the UK, mainly due to our vibrant and influential music culture. I’m especially proud of my Jamaican heritage, and the influence that the nation has had on the UK, and the world. My dad was part of a reggae soundsystem, and that aspect of Jamaican culture has spawned everything from hip hop to jungle, dubstep and grime. British Caribbeans and Africans have made a global impact with their music and that is something we can all celebrate…’



From R&B and Soul to Pop as we know it today!

Over the years Black Brits have been extremely adept at formulating their own take on US-created genres, soul, funk and R&B. This playlist showcases some of the greats, past and present. Expect big hits and lesser known gems from 52nd Street, Loose Ends, Junior Giscombe, Imagination, Sade, Shaun Escoffery, Lynden David Hall, Tony Momrelle, Roachford, Terri Walker, Craig David, Lynda Dawn, Beverley Knight, Estelle, Jaki Graham, Soul II Soul and many more.


From House to Disco by way of Detroit and Chicago we chronologise the sounds that evolved into the Contemporary Dance & Electronic scene today.

The world’s musical landscape would look very very different were it not for the Black pioneers of house and techno, who conceived the genres in their respective cities; Chicago and Detroit. This is a tribute to the history of electronic music, with 50 cuts that chart the timeline, from the mid-80s to today. Think: Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, Ron Hardy, Steve "Silk" Hurley, Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, Marshall Jefferson, Phuture, Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills, Kevin Saunderson, Moodymann, Ron Trent, Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman, Carl Craig…


From blues and country to folk and rock, we chart the lineage of the mighty guitar in music history through its black pioneers.

Going back to the 1930s, this playlist uncovers the Black guitar heroes of the last century. Featuring innovators who took traditional instruments and added flair, dynamism and pure, unadulterated human spirit, producing music that influenced some of the world’s biggest rock bands. As well as some of the greats of contemporary guitar playing. Get ready to rock… Expect: John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Son House, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, B.B.King, Bo Diddley Odetta, Bill Withers, Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Nile Rodgers


From ragtime to bebop and contemporary jazz-influenced hip hop and D&B, we celebrate black artists in jazz and how the genre has shaped popular music as we know it.

When it first appeared, jazz was counter cultural and its protagonists were outsiders. Nowadays, though it’s accepted, it retains some of its outlier appeal, while also influencing various modern styles, from hip hop to drum’n’bass. Experience that juxtaposition with this thrilling playlist that joins the dots between the roots and today’s various branches… Expect: Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Madlib, 4hero, Miles Davis, LTJ Bukem, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Yussef Kamaal, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock.

Playlists are available to be added or interleaved into our clients music schedules now. Alternatively you can take a look via your Dashboard access here: MY DASHBOARD

If you would like to discuss ideas of how we can support your business celebrating Black History Month, or any other events and celebrations coming up in your calendar please drop us a note!

GET IN TOUCH: info@openearmusic.com

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