21st October 2021 |

Join us on 21st October for a rigorous and celebratory journey through the history of pop music with the former New York Times music critic, Kelefa Sanneh.

Yes, from his own adolescence, when his allegiance was to punk rock, to his work as one of the essential voices of our time on music and culture at the New York Times and the New Yorker, Kelefa has explored how our popular music unites and divides us - the subject of his extraordinary new book, Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres.

And in this very special Digital Salon on 21st October, Kelefa will be in conversation with Salon’s Juliet Russell and distilling a career's worth of knowledge to explore the tribes music forms, and how its genres, shape-shifting across the years, give us a way to track larger forces and concerns.

He’ll debunk cherished myths, reappraise beloved heroes and upend familiar ideas of musical greatness, arguing that sometimes the best popular music isn't transcendent: it expresses our grudges as well as our hopes, and is motivated by greed as well as inspiration. Throughout, race is a powerful touchstone: just as there's always been a 'Black' audience and a 'white' audience (with some overlap) there is Black music and white music and a whole lot of expropriation.

This is a Salon to shock and awe the deepest music nerd, and at the same time to work as a heady gateway drug for the uninitiated.

Don’t miss Kelefa in conversation with Salon’s Juliet Russell on 21st October at 8pm.

"Kelefa Sanneh has achieved the impossible. Major Labels somehow manages to unspool everything you need to know about 50 years of music, but more impressively, he makes you care about all of it. Even the stuff you don't care about. It's funny, it's personal, and as a piece of writing the book borders on poetry" -- DAVID LETTERMAN

Book on the Salon for £7 or get the book and the livestream (and a watch back function) for just £22: Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. Or become a member for £45 and let us curate a whole year of ideas - and watch whenever you like.