At London Living, we know that listening to and experiencing music is often a very personal experience; hearing a familiar melody can bring back memories in haunting detail, while a new song can excite and inspire. As John Lennon once said, ‘Music is everybody’s possession’.
This is the principle behind a new project to map South London’s black music by artist Barby Asante and brought to our attention by the ever-wonderful Londonist. The South London Black Music Archive at Peckham Space, is designed to ‘celebrate, preserve and investigate South Londoners’ personal moments in black music history.’
As well as records, CDs, concert tickets, books and magazines, the project incorporates an ‘open archive’, or map of places, objects and memories ‘which represent and explore the personal stories which comprise the fascinating history of the influence and evolution of black music in London.’
The map – which looks like a modernised version of the London Tube – connects legendary locations such as Rat Records, Porky’s Wine Bar and the Ninja Tune offices, as well as more anecdotal titbits such as the fact Bob Marley used to hang out in Battersea Park.
‘I want to look at how ordinary people remember the music that has shaped their lives’, says Asante.
‘The influence of black music on the development on popular music is often overlooked. Black music has also played a significant role in the development of British culture from the 1950′s and this is a great opportunity to provide a platform for people to consider the significance of this cultural activity on their lives.’
Visitors to Peckham Space can add their own memories and experiences to the map, or contribute remotely by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘This is an exhibition that celebrates the relationship between musical legacy and the somewhat underrated experiences of its fans’, says Dan Frost of the South London Press.
Running until 24 March, the exhibition provides a unique opportunity for those not from the area to see beyond the stereotypes associated with South London and experience some of the cultural and musical legacies it has to offer.