26TH MAY 2022

Black Musicians in Europe Webinar with Oxford Brookes University

To continue with our promotional activities, this is the third in a series of webinars celebrating the Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music held at Oxford Brookes University Special Collections and Archive. The date is Thursday 26th May 2022 at 7pm (UK Time).

This webinar will examine the experiences of Black musicians who travelled to Europe, from the first visits of entertainers and jubilee singers in the 19th century, to the experiences of present-day jazz and blues musicians living and performing in continental Europe and the UK. The panel will include Rainer E. Lotz, author of Black People: Entertainers of African Descent in Europe and Germany (1997) and Grammy nominated Black Europe: the Sounds and Images of Black People in Europe pre 1927 (2013). It will also involve New York singer/guitarist Eric Bibb, who has been living in Europe since the 1970s, and Washington DC singer/guitarist Michael Roach who has been a UK resident since 1995. Author of Blues, How Do You Do? Paul Oliver and the Transatlantic Story of the Blues (2015) Christian O’Connell will chair the event.

Here is a link to the sign up registration page:…/WN_8Lrc0Y5GTQO3ATcY-qXQFg..



19TH MAY 2021

Why Paul Oliver Matters – Oxford Brookes Creative Industries Festival 2021

On Monday 24th May, Dr Christian O’Connell and Michael Roach will discuss the significance of the Paul Oliver collection to demonstrate why he matters in 2021, as part of the Creative Industries Festival 2021 at Oxford Brookes University.

Paul Oliver is regarded as one of the most important and influential scholars of African and American music. During his career Paul Oliver published over 60 articles in music journals starting in 1952 until the publication of his first book (Bessie Smith) in 1959. He went on to publish 10 titles in his name, recorded and interviewed numerous blues musicians that recorded in the 1920s and 1930s. Oliver was unique in arguing that blues developed along a parallel course from jazz and therefore merits study in its own right. His focus was on the cultural aspects of African American life that gave rise to the music we now call the blues.

Dr Christian O’Connell is the author of Blues, How Do You Do? Paul Oliver and the Transatlantic Story of the Blues (2015). Michael Roach is a professional musician and founding member of the European Blues Association incorporating the Archive of African American Music along with Oliver.

Event Details

When: Monday 24th May 2021, 12:00-13:00 BST

Where: Online

Price: Free (registration needed)

For more information, including registration details, visit the Oxford Brookes Creative Industries Festival event page.

9TH JUNE 2020

Discovering the Blues at Oxford Brookes University

On 7 February 2020, the EBA presented “Discovering the Blues: Paul Oliver and the Blues – an Evening of Live Music and Discussion” in conjunction with the Think Human festival at Oxford Brookes University.

The first hour of the programme featured live sets by guitarist and director of the European Blues Association Michael Roach, followed by Dr. Tom Attah, a guitarist and course leader in popular music performance at Leeds Arts University. The event then moved to a panel discussion on the history of the blues, and on the life and work of blues historian Paul Oliver. Here Roach and Attah were joined by Dr. Christian O’Connell (Senior Lecturer in American History, University of Gloucester), Dr. Dai Griffiths (Senior Lecturer in Music, Oxford Brookes University), and Prof. Brian Ward (Professor of American Studies, Northumbria University).

During the event, the EBA displayed an exhibition on Oliver’s research, together with copies of artefacts from the Paul Oliver Archive of African American Music including recordings, photographs, sheet music, and fieldnotes.

More photos of the event and exhibition can be seen in the gallery below.

Tom Attah performs at Discovering the Blues. (Photo: Tom Attah)

Record Labels and Advertisements from the Paul Oliver Collection

Paul Oliver Collection Exhibition

Paul Oliver Collection Exhibition

Paul Oliver Collection Exhibition

Paul Oliver Collection Exhibition

‘Juke Box’ of Paul Oliver Collection recordings

Michael Roach with the Exhibition

Discovering the Blues Panel. (L-R: O’Connell, Griffiths, Roach, Ward, Attah)