ON RECORD – Untold & Retold was a festival of celebration and exploration of black music on Merseyside and the role it has played in communities over the past 70 years. Co-ordinated and curated by The Playmaker Group’s Yaw Owusu, the festival hosted a vast array of specially commissioned original content including streamed performances, exclusive in-conversation events, film screenings, podcasts and an exhibition.

The 30 days festival kicked off with a very special – and important – evening of entertainment, including performances by The Real Thing, The Christians, Jennifer John and Sense of Sound Singers, Sub Blue and Mic Lowry. It also include a debate around black music and its significance in the past, present and future of Liverpool’s ever-evolving music scene, and featured Africa Oyé CEO Paul Duhaney, DJ and broadcaster DJ 2Kind, The Farm’s Peter Hooton, Bluecoat’s Artistic Director Bryan Biggs, Positive Impact’s Barbara Phillips and Liverpool’s Head of UNESCO City of Music Kevin McManus.

The Real Thing perform at On Record launch event

Some of the commissions were:

  • Untold Stories – Short documentaries that shined a spotlight on important venues, events, songs and stories within the black music scene in Merseyside both in the past and the present. These included entitled Classic Kirklands, Tents, Sounds and a 50 Pence Piece, Listen Up! and Take Note and were produced by Jernice Easthope
  • Champion One! Champion All – In partnership with National Museums Liverpool, this digital exhibition by photographer and activist Anthony Wilde showcases 32 Merseyside people who are, or have, contributed positively to the black music scene.
  • On Record x Culture Deck Live Sessions – Enjoy six live sessions by a variety of diverse emerging Merseyside-based black music artists including Tee, IamKyami, Ty Lewis and many more.
  • Beneath The Merseybeat Podcast – The team from Mellowtone and Next Stop New York give a fascinating insight in to three decades of black music in Liverpool, focusing on the 1950s to the 1980s.

The project received coverage on national and regional TV and online, including this piece of BBC News:

Funded by Liverpool City Council, partners include, Liverpool City Region Music Board, National Museums Liverpool, University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Philharmonic.

Head to for all the content.


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