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The European Blues Association

The EBA is a registered charity formed in 1999 with the main objective of becoming the focus of activity and research for African American music in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.

“Our aim is to be 'the resource' for our members and the general public who are interested in the historical past and the modern progression of the blues.  We are dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of all aspects of the music and the African-American culture from which it evolved.”

All EBA activities are educational:

  • Providing resources for, and promoting, research and education into African-American music and its cultural heritage

  • Promoting performances of African-American music

  • Providing and promoting educational activities and tuition

The EBA is a registered Charity administered by a Board of Trustees who include: Paul Oliver, a leading world authority in the field of academic research on blues music and African-American culture for 50 years, Dr Amanda Palmer, ethnographer and sociologist, and founder of The Blues Archive & Blues Image. The Development Officer is Michael Roach, musician, and former President of the DC Blues Society, Washington DC, USA.

There is an increasing and actively committed base of Annual and Life Associate Members - currently including residents from the United Kingdom, Holland, Luxemburg, Belgium, France, Norway, Hong Kong and the USA.

Associate Members are drawn from a diverse cultural and social background with a wide range of skills, and in addition to interested members of the public include noted performers in the field, academics, educationalists, radio broadcasters, journalists, etc – all enthusiasts!

The Archive of African American Music

Many individuals have donated or pledged books, journals, historically significant 33rpm and 78rpm records, musical instruments and ‘blues ephemera’ to the Archive, including the Paul Oliver Collection of African-American Music and Culture. 

The Paul Oliver Collection is a world significant collection of musical recordings, books, journals, broadcasts, photographs, ephemera and artefacts gathered in Paul's career of over 50 years of research on African-American music. All of these items are rare and some are unique in the world of African-American music collections. Many of the items are familiar through having been used to illustrate many books and magazine articles and in radio and television broadcasts.

The EBA is actively seeking to expand the variety ands range of the Archive, and is negotiating with other authors, musicians, photographers and collectors to that end. The Archive will be housed and displayed at the EBA headquarters in Gloucester.

Working with young people

From the beginning, the EBA has been engaged in educational activities with primary and secondary schools, usually through workshops showing the African-American underpinnings of popular music since 1900.

The John Jackson Youth Scholarship Fund was initiated by the 2001 Blues Week class to enable young people to attend tuition events organised by the European Blues Association. Since 2002 the constantly replenished fund has enabled young people to attend each year for guitar, harmonica, vocal and keyboard classes and to benefit from spending time with internationally respected tutors who are current performers of the music.

Working with the Academic Community

Paul Oliver and Michael Roach have presented Papers at international conferences on behalf of the EBA and are also frequent broadcasters, most recently notable being Michael’s three-part series ‘Deep Blue’ on Radio 4. The EBA assisted the School of Humanities of the University of Gloucestershire in presenting the July 2004 conference on the theme: “Overseas blues” ‘European Perspectives on Black Music’

Working with the Music Industry

Each year the EBA  sponsors and promotes an increasing range of concerts to further the aim of ‘education through appreciation of performance’ and has toured noted African-American performers such as; John Jackson, John Cephas, Louisiana Red, Harmonica Phil Wiggins and Philadelphia Jerry Ricks.

Working with performance

The EBA believes that participation through performance can be one of the key factors in the development and maintenance of a life-long enthusiasm for music making. This in turn can lead to the desire for deeper understanding of the cultural history and context that formed the music.

The EBA has promoted and organised a range of workshops, Blues Weekends and the annual ‘Blues Week’ residential programme. Participants in EBA tuition programmes have been drawn from residents of the United Kingdom, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Germany, Croatia, Norway, Finland, Latvia and the USA.

Tuition offered has included fingerstyle and slide guitar, harmonica, vocals and keyboard. The following artists are just some of those who have provided tuition and masterclasses, -from the USA; Tom Ball, John Cephas, Grant Dermody, Mike Dowling, Keith Dunn, Ari Eisenger, Mary Flower, Paul Geremia, Stefan Grossman, John Jackson, Lazy Lester, Johnny Mars, John Miller, Louisiana Red, Philadelphia Jerry Ricks, Michael Roach, Kenny Sultan, and Phil Wiggins, and from Europe; Ian Briggs, Ashley Dow, Dana Gillespie, Bob Hall, Michel Lelong, Homesick Mac, Michael Messer, Sam Mitchell, Little George Suref and Diz Watson.

If you are interested in participating in, or supporting any of the aims and activities, please contact the EBA via

Annual Associate Membership is £20 and Life Membership £200.

Financial or material donations to the archive or EBA Building Fund, or to the John Jackson Scholarship Fund for tuition and educational activities are welcomed.

Registered Office: 135 Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol BS32 4UB United Kingdom

Registered Charity No. 1090158

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