UB40 has launched a series of cards celebrating Birmingham’s musical heritage which will be displayed at all stations around the city.
Revealing the first of 30 works specially commissioned from Hall Green station as part of the Musical Routes project, the reggae group hosted the installation that celebrates the city’s underrated musical impact.
“Birmingham has been a cultural melting pot for generations and it has made some very successful musicians of all different genres, but we never really celebrated it. Birmingham has never sounded its own trumpet, ”said Robin Campbell, one of the band’s four founding members, during the card’s official unveiling.
Speaking alongside his comrades James Brown, Earl Falconer and Norman Hassan, as well as new singer Matt Doyle, he said: “It is time we shout it from the rooftops because we are so proud of our legacy of Birmingham. “
The cards celebrate Brummie artists including Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, the Beat, Laura Mvula, Joan Armatrading, Andy Hamilton, Jamelia and Duran Duran. They also feature city venues such as the Que Club and the Rum Runner.
Jez Collins, director of Birmingham Music Archive, which produced the project, said: “I noticed that we haven’t celebrated or recognized the achievements of the city’s musicians, so I wanted to question that narrative and say that in fact Birmingham is a city of music. Manchester, Liverpool, London, Glasgow – they all recognized their musical culture and we didn’t. “
The wooden 3D cards, designed by local artists Bobbie-Jane Gardner and Claire Hartley and funded by the West Midlands Railway, each feature a scannable code that links to a specially curated Spotify playlist featuring musicians from each region .
Collins said the cards were the first step in a larger project to celebrate the city’s musical heritage, which will culminate with the opening of the Birmingham Music Museum in Digbeth in 2025.
“If you don’t know what happened in your area and are told that nothing good ever comes from where you live, you can stop and look at these maps,” Collins said. “Music culture resides everywhere and I hope these cards inspire people a bit.”
Adam Regan, director of Birmingham concert hall and club The Hare and Hounds, which hosted the very first UB40 concert in 1979, said: “I think the Brummies have to be cuddled to make them scream. on what they’re good at. There is a lot of talent and music that comes from the area, and that will hopefully get people talking about it. “
“Birmingham has informed everything we do, we wouldn’t exist without Birmingham,” said Brown of UB40. “The cultural mix of the band, the style of the music, it’s all influenced by the fact that we grew up in the town of Brum.”
“People are starting to recognize things more, now we have some fame here and they are starting to set up benches around the city to commemorate different artists,” Campbell said. “I think it’s wonderful, the more there is, the more we can celebrate it. And it was about time too.