Incorporating the Archive of African American Music, The European Blues Association is a registered charity dedicated to keeping the the heritage of African American music very much in the forefront of today's musical awareness.
"From the tango and the rumba to the beguine and the merengue, from calypso to samba, from reggae to rap, western, and now global, popular song, music and dance have been enriched over the past century by a great variety of musical idioms of the Americas. There are literally dozens of other musical types in the Caribbean, North and South America. Some of these have had widespread international appeal, while others have been more regional, like zydeco in Louisiana or son in Cuba, both of which now have many enthusiasts abroad.
There is one fundamental characteristic that unites these various musical forms; they are all of African-American origin, created by the descendents of the slaves who were brought in their millions to labour in the Americas.
Spirituals, or religious songs, were introduced to Europe in the nineteenth century, as were gospel songs at a later date. Concerts and tours and, more permanently, phonographic recordings enhanced enjoyment of black music. After World War 1, Europeans rapidly embraced North American jazz, swing and subsequently be-bop and the various kinds of modern jazz.
More prominently after World War 2 was the appeal of the blues, from the ‘down home’ sounds of the south to the electric music of the urban North and of course blues-influenced rock and roll and rock music. Distanced as they were from the sources, Europeans contributed substantially to the study, recording, documentation and appreciation of African-American music.
To delight in its qualities and understand the evolution of African-American music is to know much more about our shared inheritance. That is why the European Blues Association was founded. Firmly based on its expanding Archive of African-American Music, its many activities relate to the preservation, presentation and education about such music." Paul Oliver, 2005
Aiding the Archive
Amongst the items so far contributed include the bequest of the Paul Oliver Collection, the Dave Dalton Collection, the Stuart Kidd Collection, the Robert Tilling Collection and the John Anderson Sheet Music Collection along with individual items from many donors.
The EBA is actively seeking to expand the variety ands range of the Archive, and is negotiating with other authors, musicians, photographers and collectors to that end. If you have any items you would like to donate or would like to make a financial contribution to support our activities, please get in touch.
These collections are currently being catalogued and if you are interested in helping with this project please contact us.
The Paul Oliver Collection of African-American Music and Culture
The Paul Oliver Collection is a world significant collection of musical recordings, field recordings, books, journals, broadcasts, photographs, printed ephemera, manuscripts, personal papers and artefacts gathered and produced in a career of over 50 years of research on African-American music. All of these items are rare and some are unique in the world of African-American music collections. Many of the items have been used to illustrate books and magazine articles and in radio and television broadcasts.
The collection is currently being catalogued, the following is a structural summary of its content:
Various 78 rpm, 10" long-play, 45s, extended play 45s, 12" long-play and Compact Discs on US and English labels that cover the music of Africa, blues, jazz, gospel, rhythm & blues and soul music.
Journals and Magazines
The Archive contains publications from Black Music Research Journal, Blues Unlimited, Living Blues, Blues World, Juke Blues, Blues and Rhythm, Storyville and Sing Out among others.
The Archive contains a large quantity of photographs and 35mm slides of African American site locations, blues singers, jazz musicians, vocalists, bands and instrumental groups. The Stuart Kidd Collection consists of thousands of originals taken for the United States Farm Services Administration which documented pictorial life in the southern states of America from 1935-1942.
Our rare publications includes Early Songbooks, Catalogues, Publicity Sheets, Posters and postcards.
The John Anderson Sheet Music Collection contains over one thousand rare African American related song sheets dating from 1830 to 1930.
The books within the Archive covers a range of subject matter that includes Slavery and Reconstruction, 20th Century Black History, WPA Writers Project Reports, Urban Contexts, Music and Song Traditions for Comparative Studies, Africa, European Folk Music, African American Sacred and Secular Music, the Blues, Jazz and Entertainment.
The archive includes a large number of items including original manuscripts, historic radio broadcasts, films, tuition material and donations of historic world and popular musical instruments.