The Creative Industries Festival 2021: Why Paul Oliver matters: the Blues and African American music.

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Who this event is for

  • Everyone




Paul Oliver is regarded as one of the most important and influential scholars of African and American music.
Dr Christian O’Connell and Michael Roach will discuss the significance of the Paul Oliver collection to demonstrate why he matters in 2021.

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.