Music in education: a living relic of Western Europe’s colonial mentality

by Nathan Holder Since music entered the National Curriculum in 1988, the UK’s approach to musical education has been grounded in Western Classical traditions. From Palestrina to Schoenberg, Baroque to 20th Century Experimentalism, students are routinely taught the fundamentals of the art largely by studying ‘The Great Composers’, by learning the conventions of western classical… Read More

How to be Desi in 2017: Riz MC and Heems are forging a new cultural reflection of South Asians in diaspora

by Iman Sultan  I don’t normally get moved by music videos, but Swet Shop Boys’ internet-released video, “Aaja”, a track off their Cashmere album, released late last year, felt like salvation A tribute to Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch, who was murdered last summer, and whose very death made her an icon, the video… Read More

Dropping the mic in his own time: as-salamu alaykum Yasiin Bey

by Jamal Mehmood Earlier this year, the artist formerly known as Mos Def gave his farewell performances in London. Hiphop’s own whirling dervish, who dared to whirl and pray on a simply decorated stage, dropping rose petals on a floor already filled with balloons. This was the Yasiin show. There was no formal set list… Read More

Chance the Preacher

by Zain Dada “When the praises go up, the blessings come down, I promise you!” This wasn’t the voice of a preacher at a gospel church in Brixton but that of 6-time Grammy-nominated Chance The Rapper at Brixton Academy on a rainy Sunday evening in November. The performance was Chicago rapper Chance’s first major gig in London, supported… Read More

Cashmere Hip Hop Straight from the Swet Shop

by Lamisse Hamouda  An American Hindu-Punjabi rapper from Queens drawls, “Insha’allah / masha’allah / No martial law / hai allah / yo yallah”. Never had I experienced such visceral sense of familiarity in listening to music until I was blasted with these lines from “T5”, the opening track off Swet Shop Boys’ debut album Cashmere.… Read More

London’s music venues are disappearing faster than Brexit supporters

by Joshua Idehen I didn’t really get gentrification until September. I knew what it was, knew it was ‘a bad thing’ and ranted accordingly, wrung my hands and nodded when my more informed peers would explain how the spectre of ‘redevelopment’ was creeping over the capital like a pervert’s shadow on a playground during break-time.… Read More

Proving myself as an artist: From Indigenous to contemporary stages

by Suzy Wrong Like most people of colour in the Western world, Ngaiire’s identity is attached to various places around the globe. Having lived in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia in her formative years, and then travelling extensively further afield with her music career, Ngaiire is no longer just the little girl with… Read More

Afropunk: The Elephant in the Room

by Joseph Guthrie   Last month on a balmy Friday night I was treated to the launch of Siana Bangura’s debut book of poetry, Elephant. Elephant captures Bangura’s compassion for life – her own and those of the people around her wherever her travels have taken her. However it is her refusal to apologize for her blackness, her… Read More