Musigration: Movement Across The Water at Tate Exchange Liverpool March 2019
How has music shaped the exchange of cultural ideas and influenced social trends?
As a result of the proliferation of popular music from the 20 century via Bakelite, vinyl, tape, CD,
televised concerts, pop video, DVD, mp3 and streaming, populations across the world have been
able to share and exchange tastes and styles of musical idioms resulting in a hybrid of contemporary
Notably in the UK there have been several different influential periods that are still making an
impact on the way that music is interpreted and consumed. This consumption of the music
produced has facilitated a cultural acceptance, even an adoption of attitudes and styles in all of the
generations that have been born since these technologies allowed for this easy exchange.
In particular I would like to examine the impact that Blues, R&B, Soul, Reggae and Ska have carried
artists across the waters both ways, from the UK to the Americas and back again. From my
experiences, I have been part of this cultural pollination having been part of the baby boomers post
WW II. I heard first-hand the music from the period pre-war from the Bakelite collections of my
parents, augmented by my own acquisition of vinyl in the 50’s and the 60’s. I participated in the 8
track cartridge craze, collected cassette tapes and recorded my own, bought CD’s and DVD’s and
now stream music at home, on my mobile and computer.
I came to Europe because of my involvement in the music industry in the late 70’s. Being fortunate
enough to work with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha, Sinatra, BS&T and other great names. In
1976 I was living in New York and was in house engineer for Bobby Colomby’s New City Studio
assigned to record demos for an artist from the UK; Jess Roden, and his bass player John Cartwright
who was his songwriter/bandleader. Jess sang blue eyed soul, influenced by black soul musicians
Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Temptations, Stevie Wonder and others. It was my association with
John, and his invitation to come to France and build a studio with him that brought me here.
I would like to seek out some of the artists that were part of these journeys back and forth between
their country of origin and the UK, interview and record both visually and orally their reflections,
providing playback through an installation and highlight the music that they made during their
careers, and that which influenced them.
I will involve Dr. Edson Burton, historian and artist to work with me, providing background and
history, musical references, and for him to take part actively during our residency at the TexL. This
can be as part of a talk, a presentation of musical works, a video of archival footage, etc.
I will include the Jacaranda in Liverpool, particularly because of its history of hosting musical
acts since the 60’s, and the historical musicians that have played there.
Along with all of this, I will prepare a collection of artwork from albums, magazines and publicity
from the periods we will cover.