Windrush 75 Concert Review 


On June 9th at the Royal Albert Hall, DJ Trevor Nelson held a show to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Windrush. Its aim was to capture the breadth of musical influence the Windrush generation has had on British culture over the years.


I can say all the performances on the night did just that. The vibrancy, passion and rich variety of talent brought to the UK from the Windrush generation was reflected by the impeccable covers of the most iconic Lovers Rock and Reggae tracks, and performances of the musicians own songs, which all held its own unique flavour — a cocktail of Reggae, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Garage, Jungle, Ska and more, presenting the clear influence the older generation of Caribbean music had on theirs. 


But not only the performances reflected this but the audience did too. The rich diversity of the crowd… older and younger generations came together from all walks of life, and all ethnic backgrounds, to celebrate this important historical era. Seeing those who were from the Windrush generation themselves getting up, singing and shaking their hips to the music of their time was such a great sight to see.


Calypsonian, Tobago Crusoe opened the evening, starting things off impressively with his captivating lyrics and with the Chineke! Orchestra’s stunning use of the drums, and steel pans.


After this, it only got better and better… following on was a cover of My Boy Lollipop, instantly getting the crowd on their feet.


Saxophonist, OBE YolanDa Brown wowed us all with her flawless cover of Bob Marley’s Is This Love, her energy and smile as she played, radiating to us all from the stage.


Hak Baker’s charming personality was shown, triggering chuckles all across the crowd during his introduction, before gripping the audience with his song Windrush Baby. 


Next up was Loose Ends, giving us their legendary single Hangin' on a String full of Soul and Funk, bringing us back to the ‘80’s.


And then, Trevor Nelson came in to introduce the next song and as soon as The Chineke! Orchestra began playing, the whole crowd roared with excitement, as Cleopatra Rey, who currently plays Rita Marley in Get Up! Stand Up: The Bob Marley Musical, joined Loose Ends & began singing Musical Youth’s Pass the Dutchie.


Loose Ends left the stage leaving Cleopatra with us, who went on to sing another classic - Silly Games, by Janet Kay which was flawlessly delivered. 


And after intermission we were given three more outstanding performances. Salena Godden, blessing our ears with her powerful spoken word, a poem she wrote especially for the night. MBE Beverly Knight, leaving the audience awe-struck by her Lovers Rock cover & her dance-inducing performance of her noughties classic, Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda.


Then, Craig David finalised the night amazingly, of course! Opening his performance by commenting ‘I’m so grateful to be up here tonight with all these incredible musicians and celebrate the fact that it (The Windrush) did happen.’ He gave a shout out to his Grenadian Father, who was in the crowd, sharing his gratitude for all he’s done in his life, then went on to sing his iconic tracks Fill Me In & Re-Wind, which needless to say, got the crowd going wild and was the perfect way to end this great evening!


Throughout it all, the Chineke! Orchestra, conducted by the incredible Chris Cameron played beautifully — the foundation of the whole night, and of course, Trevor Nelson as the host, holding everything together and the reason this show happened in the first place!


All in all, the concert was indeed a beautiful commemoration to the Windrush, and if you are reading this and you weren't there, don't fret, as the show will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2, on Sunday 18 June, as part of the BBC’s programming to mark the Windrush anniversary. 


By Tia Hoggar