Tracing role that music played in fight for black freedom

Gary Crosby  Howard Denner / Retna UK.
Gary Crosby Howard Denner / Retna UK.
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Gary Crosby, Firth Hall

As Black History Month continues across the UK in October, the African American Civil Rights movement will be explored through music at the University of Sheffield by pioneering global jazz star Gary Crosby OBE tomorrow, Tuesday.

Bassist Crosby, one of the UK’s most important bandleaders, will bring his phenomenally talented young band Groundation to the university as part of its autumn season of concerts.

The event will explore the key role that music played in the African-American Civil Rights movement.

Groundation will evoke the people, personalities and events through stunning new jazz arrangements.

Songs helped lift spirits of those involved and tell the story of the movement.

Old songs with roots in the struggles of slavery of past generations were reinvented and new songs creatively emerged to fit the situation of modern oppression.

Some songs exploded spontaneously during the heat of demonstrations and marches and some were sung during the lonely hours of solitary confinement in jail cells.

These songs were stirring, hopeful, angry, serious and determined.

Some were songs for celebrations, full of humour, satire and jubilation, but also expressed the deepest grief and sadness. Music kept the movement moving.

Dr Rachel van Duyvenbode of the university’s School of English and Professor Brian Ward of Northumbria University will also give talks and revisit the path to freedom from slavery.

Box office: or call 0114 223 3777.