On June 22, 1948, the HMT Empire Windrush brought over 400 passengers from various Caribbean islands to the UK to help labour shortages following World War II. Referred to as the Windrush generation, they arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1971, working manual jobs that have contributed greatly to Britain.

Credit: Andy Paradise

I had the pleasure of attending an incredible musical event, celebrating 75 years of the Windrush Generation. Hosted by DJ and presenter, Trevor Nelson, Windrush 75 Concert was a special evening, honouring the profound influence of Caribbean culture on British society.

This night of music showcased a multi-generational lineup of talented British artists with Caribbean heritage. We explored the evolution of Caribbean-inspired music, spanning from the 1940s to the present day. Taking place at the stunning Royal Albert Hall, we were treated to an exciting variety of musical guests including West End stars Cleopatra Rey and Beverley Knight, old-school R&B band Loose Ends, and UK Garage legend, Craig David. 

Credit: Andy Paradise

The concert, led by Chris Cameron and the Chineke! Orchestra began with a captivating medley of Black British classics. It was the perfect way to introduce the show! I especially loved how the orchestra provided a harmonious backdrop throughout the evening’s performances. The hall beamed with hues of red and orange, casting a warm and inviting ambience. OBE Saxophonist, Yolanda Brown, took to the stage and expressed her pride in the Windrush generation, before playing a joyful rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’. It was such an uplifting atmosphere; we all shone our phone torches in the air, singing in unison. 

What I loved most was the way each guest took to the stage and transported the audience with stories of their upbringing in the U.K. Trever Nelson gave humorous anecdotes about his discovery of carnival, while Beverley Knight shared the moment she first heard the romantic reggae genre, Lovers Rock. It’s evident each tune holds a precious memory for the guests and the audience. 

Credit: Andy Paradise

Among the celebrations, the concert shone a light on a significant chapter in history—the Windrush scandal. I’m glad the event acknowledged the unjust treatment endured by those from the Windrush generation, reminding us of the resilience and strength of those affected.

From Reggae to Ska to R&B, I adored the diversity in the performances. The second act featured a poetry reading from Salena Godden. Written specially for the Windrush 75 Concert, Godden’s poem ‘My Heart is a Boat’ was moving, and acknowledged the impact the Windrush Generation has. Cleopatra Rey sang a beautiful cover of Lovers Rock jam, ‘Silly Games’ – I was amazed at how effortlessly they nailed the song’s iconic falsetto. Craig David was a standout and took the concert to another level. The energy in the hall was electric as he sang and rapped through all the popular UK Garage hits. 

Credit: Andy Paradise

Windrush 75 was a celebration of Black British music, culture, and people. It was inspiring to be in the audience, witnessing heartfelt anecdotes and unforgettable performances – it was certainly a night to remember!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Windrush 75 was a one off event – but you can see what else is on at the Royal Albert Hall by clicking here!

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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