In print, Echoes is the best monthly magazine about black music there is. We love soul, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and reggae, not to mention the various musical offshoots and blends associated with those core areas. Our expert contributors are not only amongst the very best in their field, but their intelligent, grown-up and frequently humorous take on the music sets them apart from… well, whatever it is the rest think they’re up to.
We started out back in 1976 as ‘Black Echoes’, a weekly newspaper covering mostly soul, funk and reggae. We became a monthly mag back in 2000 and, along the way, broadened our outlook to cover hip-hop [from its birth], jazz and R&B/pop. And, as you see, we have now added a dynamic website to our portfolio.
The website and magazine are intended to be complementary: The print mag will continue to stand alone as the essential, in-your-hands glossy monthly, with exclusive features, reviews and other content essential to the modern black music lover. The site, meanwhile, will be packed with non-print exclusives special ‘online only’ features and news. You can, of course, subscribe to the print mag online, or simply order it through your local newsagent. Stay in touch with all our doings via Twitter, Facebook and our regular newsletters.
Chris Wells, Editor
A soul fan since his elder brother introduced him to Otis Blue back in the sixties, Chris fell in love with Marvin, Curtis, Womack and Al Green in the seventies, while pretending to fulfil his parents’ dream for him to become a lawyer. He gave up all that tedious legal stuff in the 1980s for a far more entertaining career as a full-time music journalist and has since risen through the ranks at Echoes to become its Editor and joint-owner/publisher. Even after around 1800 interviews and thousands of reviews, his enthusiasm for writing about new soul music remains undimmed. He has a wife, three children and a great set of headphones.
Kevin Le Gendre, Deputy Editor
Kevin is a journalist and broadcaster who has been riding the Echoes soul train since the late ‘90s. He has written about jazz, hip-hop, African and Caribbean music for many publications and in the 2006 World Cup fervently supported the football team of Trinidad and Tobago, where he lived as a child. He currently resides in Seven Sisters, north London and does not do any juggling, stepovers or dragbacks in his spare time.
He is the author of Soul Unsung: Reflections On The Band In Black Popular Music.
John Masouri is a well respected author, journalist, reviewer, broadcaster and research consultant, writing about a range of different music, but specialising in reggae and its many off-shoots including roots, revive and dancehall.
As a reporter Echoes, he’s covered reggae music in all of its forms for over 25 years, interviewing and writing about many of its greatest and most influential figures.
Other publications to feature his writings include Mojo, Music Week, The Guardian, The Observer and NME, as well as magazines in the US, Holland, Italy, Japan [RM] and the Caribbean. He remains a regular contributor to magazines in France [Reggae Vibes] and Germany [Riddim].
In 2008 he completed an authorized biography of Bob Marley and The Wailers, Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley’s Wailers for Omnibus Press, which Roger Steffens described as “the best book ever written on Bob Marley,” and “a fan’s dream come true.”
He is also a co-author of the Guinness Book Of Reggae and Virgin Encyclopedia Of Reggae. His latest book is the first-ever biography of reggae singer Peter Tosh, entitled Steppin’ Razor: The Life Of Peter Tosh, again for Omnibus Press.
In addition to book readings and festival appearances, he’s contributed to several radio and television documentaries commissioned by the BBC [“UK Reggae,” “Arise Blackman, The Life Of Peter Tosh,” The Story Of Jamaican Music”, and “Blood And Fire”], Channel 4, and the BBC World Service. He also appears in Menelik Shabazz’s documentary film, The Story Of Lover’s Rock, released in 2011.
Away from the media, he’s written a vast amount of label and promotional material for record companies such as Sony, Universal, Virgin, BMG, VP Records, Jet Star, and Greensleeves, among others. He’s also compiled and written liner notes for nearly 200 reggae albums issued by labels such as Greensleeves, Island, Trojan and VP.
Mike “Frenchie” Atherton
Born quite recently in Chesterfield, Mike’s epiphanal moment came when, as a boy, he heard Otis Redding’s Mr. Pitiful and realised that the singer was black. He still hasn’t recovered.
His first steps into journalism came as a student, when he edited his college’s weekly paper and wrote its record review column, ‘Recorded Ramblings by Stampin’ Seamus’. Thereafter he spent many years pretending to be a language teacher in a succession of prep schools; this was merely a front for his activities as a club, radio and mobile disc jockey and an importer and distributor of blues records.
He joined [Black] Echoes in 1976 as blues correspondent and they are still figuring out a way to get rid of him. Since then he has written about [mainly] black music for The Daily Telegraph, Blues & Soul, Album Tracking [on which, oddly, he was the singles reviewer], Blues & Rhythm, Record Collector, The Wire, Manifesto and the French magazine Soul Bag. He contributed to the Guinness Encyclopaedia of Popular Music and the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide, and ghost-wrote the memoirs of Ember Records and Flamingo Club owner Jeff Kruger. He has contributed liner notes to over 100 non-hit albums, and his other passion, for obsolete forms of transport, has led to his work being published in Railway World, Old Glory and Canal Boat magazines.
He is married to Marion; they celebrated their Silver Wedding last year, and now live in Fenland. He hibernates in winter, preferably on the Costa del Sol, but can be observed in summer steering his narrowboat ‘Trojan’ around the canals of the Midlands and stopping at all the waterside pubs.
A hip-hop fan since seeing De La Soul’s Me, Myself and I on long-defunct music video prog The Chart Show, Sunil has discovered that he can’t give up the rap bug. Interviewing everyone from Melle Mel and Kool Keith to Nas and Mos Def, he still gets excited about new hip-hop and, like KRS-ONE, knows rap will never die.