About the EBA
A brief history
Throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, there is a healthy interest in the performance of African American music. Monthly magazines are published in France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. National and international performers and a European audience travel widely to celebrate the common ground they share in their love of the music.
A number of enthusiasts, including Dr Paul Oliver MBE (a leading authority in the field of academic research on blues music and African American culture for the past 50 years), believed there was a need to form an organisation that would become a major resource to foster an understanding of the culture from which blues and all related African American music (spiritual and secular) originated. The group wanted the project to provide a resource for study, research and live musical activities.
In 1999 the decision was taken to form the 'European Blues Foundation' and in 2001 the name was changed to ‘The European Blues Association.' On the 18th January 2002, the European Blues Association was confirmed as a Registered Charity by the United Kingdom Charities Commission and entered in the Central Register of Charities. The EBA is administered by a Board of Trustees, currently including Paul Oliver. Past trustees have included noted academics, well-known musicians, local broadcasters and politicians. The Development Officer, Michael Roach, is the former President of the DC Blues Society, Washington DC, USA.
"… to be the resource for our members and the general public who are interested in the historical past and the modern progression of African American music. We are dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of all aspects of the music and the African-American culture from which it evolved.”
In furtherance of our objective to advance the education of the general public in the history and appreciation of African American music and culture the Association will make provisions for:
- the protection and preservation of an archive of material related to the music of peoples of African descent, including African American music and culture in general and Blues in particular; to make this accessible for the public benefit in a resource centre.
the presentation of public recitals and lectures featuring African American music
Working with performance
Participation through performance can be one of the key factors in the development and maintenance of a life-long enthusiasm for music making. This in turn can lead to the desire for deeper understanding of the cultural history and context that formed the music. Since 2000, the EBA has promoted and organised a range of workshops held at various locations in the UK.
For quick communication, we have a Facebook page and a YouTube channel called euroblues2010 that has been launched as an addition to our website. It hosts 'taster' lessons and has a 'favourites' listing of some classic blues and music videos....essential stuff! We will add to these as we go, so mark it as your favourite. Click here to visit: The EBA YouTube Channel
Working with young people
From its foundation, the EBA has been engaged in educational activities with primary and secondary schools. We have donated musical instruments and we offer performance seminar workshops demonstrating the African American underpinnings of 20th Century popular music.
In 2001, The John Jackson Youth Scholarship Fund was established to enable young people to attend tuition events. We have awarded over £15,000 in scholarships for young people between the ages of 14-21 to attend 'Blues Week' (a residential programme held at the University of Northampton teaching guitar, harmonica, vocals and blues piano/keyboards). Students benefit from spending time with internationally known performers and tutors.
Working with the local community
EBA members are frequent broadcasters and guests on national and local UK radio programmes featuring African American music. Michael Roach presented a three-part series called ‘Deep Blue’ on BBC's Radio 4.
The EBA has been working with the Gloucestershire County Library Services since 2003 presenting concerts and events to local community groups. In 2011, we received a grant from the Summerfield Trust to produce a film promoting higher acheivement involving secondary school children that was featured at the 'Black Achievement Awards Ceremony' sponosored by the Gloucestershire County Council's Racial Equality and Diversity Services.
Working with the academic community
The EBA has formed a partnership with the University of Gloucestershire to encourage the use of the Archive of American Music for graduate and post-graduate students and academic researchers. Part of the Archive is housed in the University of Gloucestershire Study and Archives Centre.
EBA members regularly present papers on African American music themes at national and international music conferences.
Working with the music industry
Since 2000, the EBA has been actively involved in the Gloucester International Rhythm & Blues Festival promoting concerts, seminars and workshops. Local events are held, such as the 'Jug Band Weekend' (Cheltenham 2009) and Canadian hip hop artist DJ Subliminal's 'Motivational Workshop' (Gloucester 2010).
To further our aim of ‘education through appreciation of performance', we have featured noted African American performers such as John Jackson, Ethel Caffie-Austin, Louisiana Red, Lazy Lester, Keith Dunn, Cephas and Wiggins and Philadelphia Jerry Ricks.
Louisiana Red, Blues Week 2002