Wed, 27 October 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

Kelefa Sanneh – A History of Music in Seven Genres

From Rock to Hip-Hop, Punk to R&B

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A talk to shock and awe the deepest music fanatic, and at the same time a gateway for the uninitiated, critic Kelefa Sanneh presents a deep study of how pop music unites and divides us.

From his own adolescence, when his allegiance was to punk rock, to his work as one of the essential voices of our time on music and culture at the New York Times and the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh has spent a lifetime entranced by the genres and tribes of popular music. He joins us to distil his knowledge and explore the history of music as you’ve never heard it before.

He will debunk cherished myths, reappraise beloved heroes and upend familiar ideas of musical greatness, arguing that sometimes the best popular music isn’t transcendent: it expresses our grudges as well as our hopes, and is motivated by greed as well as inspiration. Throughout, race is a powerful touchstone: just as there’s always been a ‘Black’ audience and a ‘white’ audience (with some overlap) there is Black music and white music and a whole lot of expropriation.

Don’t miss this journey through the history of the world’s favourite art-form from a critic of the first order.

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Kelefa Sanneh

Journalist and music critic

Kelefa Sanneh has been a New Yorker staff writer since 2008, before which he spent six years as a pop-music critic at The New York Times. He is also a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning. Previously, he was the deputy editor of Transition, a journal of race and culture based at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University. His writing has also appeared in a number of magazines and a handful of books, including Shake It Up: Great American Writing on Rock and Pop from Elvis to Jay Z, a Library of America Special Publication, and Da Capo Best Music Writing (2002, 2005, 2007, and 2011).