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Freedom Music

Wales, Emancipation and Jazz 1850-1950

Author(s): Jen Wilson

Language: English

Genre(s): Media Film and Theatre

May 2019336 pages

Paperback - 9781786834072 eBook - epub - 9781786834096 eBook - mobi - 9781786834102 eBook - pdf - 9781786834089

About The Book

This book reclaims for Wales the history and culture of a music that eventually emerged as jazz in the 1920s, its tendrils and roots extending back to slave songs and abolition campaign songs, and Swansea’s long-forgotten connection with Cincinnati, Ohio. The main themes of the book are to illustrate and emphasise the strong links between emerging African American music in the USA and the development of jazz in mainstream popular culture in Wales; the emancipation and contribution of Welsh women to the music and its social-cultural heritage; and an historical appraisal as the music journeyed towards the Second World War and into living memory. The jazz story is set amid the politics, socio-cultural and feminist history of the time from whence the music emerged – which begs the question ‘When Was Jazz?’ to echo the question posed by Gwyn A. Williams in 1985, ‘When Was Wales?’ If jazz is described as ‘the music of protest and rebellion’, then there was certainly plenty of that going on during the jazz age in Wales.


The Life, Times and Music of Abolitionist Jessie Donaldson (1799–1889)
Doing the Plantation Walkaround Skedaddle
The Fisk Jubilee Singers in Wales, Freed Slaves and their Songs
Ragtime and the Cake Walk: On Stage and in the Workhouse
The First World War: Ragtime Trenches and Suffragettes
Cafe Society: The Jazz Age
Cutting a Rug to the Second World War: Jews and ‘Negro Morals’
Fair Treatment for the ‘Fair Sex’?

About the Author(s)

Jen Wilson

Jen Wilson is a jazz pianist and founder of Jazz Heritage Wales, based at UWTSD Swansea.

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