Lead researcher Mykaell Riley opened the night giving a speech about the importance of Jamaican music and the influence it had on British music and culture, which has never been recognised in such an extensive research study before. The University secured one of the biggest research awards of £533,033 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the work will be conducted in partnership with the British Library, British Library Sound Archive and Black Cultural Archives.
The Bass Culture research project, named to reflect the dominant role of the bass frequency within Jamaican music, will be the first in-depth retrospective of Jamaican and British music in the UK. The project, which will run until January 2019, is a positive response to the disengagement and lack of awareness surrounding the heritage and impact of Jamaican and Jamaican-influenced music in Britain over the last six decades.
Riley, a Senior Lecturer in Music, Film and Communication at the University of Westminster, discussed the obstacles he had to overcome for this research project to come to life, and thanked his fellow members of staff for their support and determination during the process.
Riley said: “We are at a beginning of an exciting journey and we have the right people so we should make the journey.”
Black music luminaries including Jazzie B and Dennis Bovell were present and many great speakers came to support Professor Riley. Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, Paul Reid of the Black Cultural Archives, Teddy Nygh of Fully Focused and author Daniel Rachel all took to the stage to show their excitement at the launch of the project.