From Captain Sensible to Kirsty MacColl: New exhibition celebrates Croydon’s music history

Captain Sensible. Pic: Steven Muller.

Captain Sensible and Kirsty MacColl will be among the artists celebrated in a seven-month exhibition to ‘unveil the rich history of music’ in Croydon.

Rewind: This is Croydon’s Music, which will open to the public at the Museum of Croydon on February 9, features histories, stories, images and objects from the local music community.

It will be running until September 8 2024, Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11am to 5pm, building on last summer’s Music Heritage Trail. 

Jen Kavanagh, curator of the new exhibition, told Eastlondonlines: “Croydon has the most incredible music history and I’m thrilled to be bringing some of the borough’s stories to life in the Rewind exhibition.

“Every conversation I’ve had with local people throughout the exhibition’s development has been full of surprises and fascinating tales – from iconic gigs at long-lost venues to the fact that the town centre once had 13 record stores. Croydon is rightly proud of its past and I hope the exhibition does it justice.”

‘Amazing names’ 

The exhibition will contain work from various artists who traverse across generations.

From English composer, conductor and activist Samuel Coleridge Taylor to guitarist and songwriter Captain Sensible of The Damned, Dubstep legends Skrem and Benga, reggae genius Desmond Dekker, Croydon’s loved singer Kirsty MacColl, hip-hop artist Nadia Rose and beyond. 

Kirsty MacColl. Pic: K8 fan

Kavanagh said: “Posters, photos and objects have been kept by locals as keepsakes and it’s exciting to be able to display them together for a wider audience. The stories reach far beyond the amazing names we all know, like Stormzy, Desmond Dekker and the dubstep pioneers, and I hope visitors take away an appreciation for how unique and important the borough is to music history.” 

Mayor of Croydon Jason Perry said: “Rewind: This Is Croydon’s Music is a chance for us all to learn and celebrate Croydon’s contribution to UK and international music creativity.

“We know that Croydon has been home to a rich tapestry of musical talent and the London Borough of Culture has given a great opportunity to highlight Croydon’s contribution to the world of music, whether it be iconic venues or outstanding artists. Croydon is a place of ingenuity where new genres come to life – in our venues and in our communities – and long may it continue.” 

Live music events

Until September, there will also be a series of live music events running alongside and in support of the exhibition.  

For those wishing to expand their knowledge of Croydon’s local music scene, and increase their involvement in the community, the live events are listed below.  

Upcoming events include:  

February 10, London Mozart Players 75th Anniversary Concert: Mozart concert at Fairfield Halls in celebration of the London Mozart Players’ 75th anniversary.

February 12, Music Next Gen Croydon: A music industry career day at Fairfield Halls, led by independent record and management label, Finesse Foreva and the Music Managers Forum.

Half Term Activities: February 12 – 14, Music Stories and Craft at the Museum of Croydon. Sessions run in the morning from 11.45am – 12.45pm and in the afternoon from 2.15pm – 3.15pm. 

February 24, Mad Professor and the Ariwa Posse: Live dub set from Guyanese-British producer Mad Professor.

March 23, Croydon Young Composers Event: Led by award-winning musician Shri Sriram bringing together up-and-coming musicians who have composed music inspired by their diverse influences.

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