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UK Black History Month 2021: electronic music events guide

October is Black History Month in the UK. Ria Hylton spotlights a range of electronic music-related events on and offline taking place throughout the month that will celebrate Black culture past, present and future

B.A.D. debuts at London’s Colour Factory

Black Artist Database (B.A.D.) will host its first in-person event at Hackney Wick’s Colour Factory. Set for Friday 1st October, B.A.D. Presents... includes a stellar line-up of UK selectors. Club Yeke founder Tash LC, Touching Bass head Errol, NTS resident Danielle, Bristol export Otik and B.A.D. founder NIKS are down to play. Berlin’s Lakuti, who ran Finest Fridays at Berghain pre-pandemic, will also be in town to round out the event. Junior Tomlin, known by many as the ‘Salvador Dali of rave’, will be providing the night’s visuals. Doors open at 10pm and close at 4am. 

Tickets for the event are available here.

Motherland brings Afro house to Grow, Hackney

Kitty Amor and Sef Kombo will hold another Motherland edition at Grow Hackney on Saturday 2nd October. The party series, which is the UK’s main hub for all things Afro house, has been running for five years, with Amor and Kombo at the helm for the past three. October’s event will also feature special guest DJ Satellite from Seres Produções . Doors open at 8pm, no ticket necessary.

Black and British: 30 years of jungle, drum & bass talk

The Guardian newspaper will host a talk on the history of drum & bass as part of its Black History Month programme. The online event starts at 7pm local time on Wednesday 6th October, and will run for 75 minutes. D&B pioneers Goldie and DJ Flight will be joined by music historian Julia Toppin and Brian Belle-Fortune, who wrote the book All Crews: Journeys Through Jungle/Drum & Bass Culture. Expect a lively debate on the genre’s history, future, and how it came to represent the sound of a generation in an increasingly polarised society.

Tickets for the online event are available here.

Photography talk with Eddie Otchere

The Photography Foundation will be hosting a talk with Eddie Otchere, early drum & bass and hip-hop photographer, at its office in Shoreditch on Tuesday 19th October. The event is targeted at London-based 18-to-25-year-olds from underrepresented backgrounds and aims to encourage the next generation of creatives to build their networks and join in on current conversations around the craft. Otchere, who recently published Who Say Reload: The Stories Behind the Classic Drum & Bass Records of the 90s, will speak alongside current and past trainees on the foundation’s programme. The event will run from 6-8pm.

Get your tickets for Black History Month's TPF TALK with Eddie Otchere here.

Submissions for BBC Radio

DJ, journalist and podcaster Jaguar has put a call out for UK-based Black electronic music producers to send in tracks to be played on her BBC Introducing and BBC Radio One shows throughout October: “As always, would love to see more Black dance producers on the uploader — make a free profile + send us tunes below x,” she writes on Twitter. 

Early career artists can sign up and upload their tracks here.

Black music history at the Horniman Museum

Where does Black British music belong and who gets to decide? Dance Can’t Nice: Exploring London’s Black Music Space, an exhibition at the Horniman museum in South London, attempts to answer these questions. With the 696 risk assessment form that made it more difficult for London venues to hold Black music events as their starting point, artists Naeem Dxvis and SignKid explore how language and different spaces have influenced the development of Black British music culture over the years. The free exhibition will run daily — except for Wednesdays — until Sunday 24th October.

Learn more here.

Nine Nights at London’s ICA

A new exhibition by Nine Nights – the collective that includes GAIKA, GLOR1A, Shannen SP and Zara Truss-Giles among its ranks – is set to open at London's ICA next month. Starting on 11th October and running through to 30th January 2022, the exhibition, titled 'Channel B', will take in music, performance and art, including sound and video installations from the Nine Nights crew. 

Offering a synopsis of the exhibition, the ICA's website says: "Addressing sci-fi, speculative fiction, horror, political satire and experimental sound, 'Channel B' acts as an archive of Black subculture. This exhibition considers the contemporary role of surveillance, digital autonomy, non-human intelligence, and digitised human ritual, asking the viewer to reimagine the future."

Find more information via the ICA's website.

Black History Month on Apple Music

Throughout October, Apple Music will host a wide range of radio specials, interviews, DJ sets and home performances celebrating Black History Month. DJ and presenter Dotty will celebrate classic Black British albums from the likes of Ms Dynamite and Kano, as well modern classics from the likes of Dave and Little Simz. The Dotty Show will also feature interviews with artists including Alesha Dixon and a chat between Craig David and R&B artist Shakka. Dotty will also host two brand new episodes of Blackout Radio, with the first celebrating the art of sampling in Black British music, and the second featuring a chat with JAE5, in which the pair will discuss music  from the British African/Caribbean diaspora and their counterparts back home.

Elsewhere on the platform, home recorded live sessions will come from Theon Cross, ENNY, Kamal., KWAYE, Yola and Baka, with each stripped-back set being later released as an EP. Meanwhile, specially curated DJ mixes will be hosted from artists such as Wookie, Continental GT, Siobhan Bell and Rachael Anson. More info on those is available here.

Apple Music has also curated a Black History Month playlist, which aims to “take listeners on a journey through the sound of the Black experience”. Another playlist, For Us By Us, will feature music from an array of acclaimed British acts including Dave, Jorja Smith and Ray BLK.

Black History Month on Soundcloud

Throughout October, Soundcloud will host a series of guest-curated playlists inspired by the theme, Proud To Be. Curators include Pa Seileu, Ruby Francis, PinkPantheress and Young T & Bugsey. Check out the first playlists in the series, from Mahalia and Master Peace, here and here.

Alongside these, Soundcloud will also host a series of featured playlists focusing on crucial scenes at the forefront of music in the UK right now: AFROSWING: UK Afrobeats & Fusion, STEP: UK Bassline, Grime & Garage, and UNITY: Black UK Dance Now. 

British-Ghanaian music producer and Afrobeats pioneer Juls will also be the featured guest on SoundCloud’s The Journey series, discussing his rise to the top of the scene, and his collaborations with the likes of Burna Boy, Wizkid and Lauryn Hill. More details on Juls appearance on the Journey will be revealed soon. 

Ria Hylton is DJ Mag's staff writer. You can follow them on Twitter @ria_hylton

If you want to see your event added to this list you can email eoin.murray@djmag.com