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home » artists » ANTHONY JOSEPH


Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’. His written work and performance occupies a space between surrealism, Jazz and the rhythms of Caribbean speech and music. He is the author of four poetry collections and a novel The African Origins of UFOs. In 2005 he was selected by the Arts Council of England and Renaissance One as one of 50 Black and Asian writers who have made major contributions to contemporary British literature. He has received an Arts Council of England touring award, and an AHRC postgraduate scholarship to complete his doctoral thesis; a ‘fictional biography’ of the legendary Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Kitchener. In January 2015 he presented Kitch a BBC4 documentary based on his research.

As a musician he has released six critically acclaimed albums and has collaborated with Archie Shepp, Mop Mop, Keziah Jones, Joseph Bowie and Meshell Ndgeocello who produced his album, Time. His debut album Leggo de Lion (2007) featured lyrics taken from his novel The African Origins of UFOsBird Head Son followed in 2009, coinciding with the publication of his 3rd poetry collection. Rubber Orchestras was released in 2011, alongside a new collection of poems of the same title. A live album Live in Bremen appeared in 2013, and Time, produced by Ndegeocello, in 2014.

His album ‘Caribbean Roots’ (Strut/Heavenly Sweetness) represents an uncompromising return to his Trinidadian roots for Joseph, who has always remained true to a powerful, deep-seated sense of his own Caribbean identity. Starting out as a project with percussionist Roger Raspail, the album swiftly grew into a major work incorporating the rhythms, sounds and vibes that rock the Caribbean from San Fernando, Kingston and Les Abymes to Port-au-Prince and Havana. A carribean he kept exploring in his album People of the Sun.


In 2021, Anthony Joseph comes back to London Jazz with The Rich Are Only Defeated When Running for Their Lives, an album with some of the best Modern Jazz musicians from London and Paris, in which he evokes his story, his immigration to London, and his personal construction around literature and authors who followed the same path as him, to find orientationin this world-city.

Listen to Anthony Joseph on