The Black Europe Box Set

  • Hear the first recordings of Josephine Baker, the roots of European Swing and Jazz bands, and the subversive religious discs of Fela Kuti’s grandfather!
  • Follow the lives of musicians, dancers and entertainers across Europe and marvel at their amazing stories!
  • Discover audio documents, recording protocols and unseen treasures from years of research!
  • The edition will be strictly limited to 500 copies, worldwide. 


The team of internationally recognized experts, compilers and authors responsible for this project includes biographer Horst J.P. Bergmeier of the Netherlands historian Jeffrey Green from the United Kingdom discographer Dr. Rainer E. Lotz from Germany researcher Howard Rye from the United Kingdom and sound engineer Christian Zwarg from Germany. Recordings on phonograph cylinders, gramophone discs and films, with both still and moving images, feature people of African descent in Europe from the earliest years of the recording industry and continued after the First World War. The contribution of these pioneering personalities on the modern mass media has not been noticed – recognition is overdue.


Black Europe - The Sounds And Images Of Black People In Europe
Black Europe – The Sounds And Images Of Black People In Europe

Music, spoken word and dance, from all styles, categories, languages and natal lands provide a lost but rich resource. Many artefacts may be lost forever, but this project traces the surviving evidence.


Collected in two 12 x 12 inch coffee table book with almost 600 full-colour pages, here is a multitude of documents, artefacts and curiosities, from passport applications, personal memorabilia and letters, to sheet music, newspaper ads and fabulous poster art, complemented by contemporary postcards and images of  wax cylinders and disc records. In more than 100 chapters the life and times of these pioneering entertainers, musicians and linguists comes to life, from early film and sound examples to best-selling 78 rpm records, from ‘human zoos’ and minstrel shows to ethnological documentation and portraits of the (sometimes dubious) movers and shakers in European showbusiness of the time.

From African-Americans comes an aural kaleidoscope of entertainers and music from the last days of minstrelsy through ragtime and music hall artists to string bands, spirituals, and the early days of jazz in Europe, including the earliest examples of stride piano and rhythm scat singing, and some of the first records made anywhere of African-American folk music practices. From Africans come recordings of African languages and folk tales, religious music on both African and European models, and recordings of the popular music of the 1920s.

Also documented is the involvement of those born in Europe of African descent in the wider culture of the African diaspora. 

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