Dr Tom Attah is a practising musician, and Popular Music Performance Course Leader at Leeds Arts University. His Ph.D. in Popular Music was awarded by University of Salford. His research interests focus on the effects of technology on popular music and society, such as these relate to power, gender, media, history, race and discourse.

Tom’s academic writing includes international peer-review articles and book-reviews. Tom is currently co-editing a book for Routledge concerning the nature of narratives in popular music writing, and his chapter concerning the role of the north of England in the development of blues music is included in the edited volume ‘Sounds Northern: Popular Music Culture and Place in England’s North’ to be published by Equinox in 2018.

As a guitarist and singer, Tom performs solo, with an acoustic duo and as part of an electric band. Tom’s solo acoustic work includes his own original blues songs and has led to performances at major international music festivals. Tom’s music can be heard daily at Mayfair, London, where his compositions and recorded performances play in the former residence of Jimi Hendrix. Tom’s multiple national media appearances include performances and documentaries for the BBC and Sky Arts.

International festival appearances include:

  • Glastonbury Festival of the Performing Arts (UK)
  • Blues Sur Seine (France)
  • The British Invasion (Russia)
  • International Blues Challenge (US)
  • Blues Au Chateau (France)
  • The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival (UK)
  • Maverick Americana Festival (UK)

Solo tours and one-off shows include venues in Israel, United States, France, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Greece and Mexico.

Articles

Attah, T., Ferrett, D., Finding, D., Inglis, I., Lloyd, C., Rambarran, S., Scott, D. B., Spelman, N. and Warner, S. (2016) ‘Sheila, take a bow: remembering Professor Sheila Whiteley’, Volume! The French Journal of Popular Music, 12 (2), pp. 205-215.

Attah, T. (2013) ‘Feels Like Going Home: Mythologising the Story of the Blue’, A Contriatempo: the Online Journal of Popular Music, 18 (21).

Attah, T. (2013) ‘Popular Music and Society “Fandom” issue’, Volume! The French Journal of Popular Music, 10 (1), pp. 320-322.

Attah, T. (2013) ‘Mythbusting #7: The blues is a traditional style unaffected by technology’, Blues in Britain Magazine.

Attah, T. (2013) ‘Mythbusting #6: Al Wilson had to re-teach Son House how to play the guitar’, Blues in Britain Magazine.

Attah T. (2013) ‘Mythbusting #5: Eric Burdon and the origins of The House of the Rising Sun’, Blues in Britain Magazine, 136.

Attah, T. (2013) ‘Mythbusting #4: Was Muddy Waters really painting the ceiling at Chess records when he met the Rolling Stones?’, Blues in Britain Magazine, 134.

Attah, T. (2012) ‘Commissioned review: The Jimi Hendrix Companion’, Volume! The French Journal of Popular Music, 9 (2), pp. 160-161.

Attah, T. (2012) ‘Mythbusting #3: Was W.C. Handy really the father of the blues?’, Blues in Britain Magazine.

Attah, T. (2012) ‘Mythbusting #2: Robert Johnson sells his soul to the devil’, Blues in Britain Magazine, 132.

Attah, T. (2012) ‘Mythbusting #1: Leadbelly sings his way out of prison, Blues in Britain Magazine.

Books

Attah, T., Duffett, M. and Halligan, B. (2018) Stories We Could Tell: Putting Words to American Popular Music. Abingdon: Routledge Press.

Book Sections

Attah, T. (2020) ‘To make purple, you need blue: Prince as embodiment of the postmodern blues aesthetic’. In: Prince and Popular Music Critical Perspectives on an Interdisciplinary Life. Bloomsbury Academic.

Attah, T. (2018) ‘I Thought I Heard That up North Whistle Blow’: African American Blues Performance in the North of England’. In: E. Mazierska, ed., Sounds Northern: Popular Music, Culture and Place in England’s North. Equinox Press, pp. 77-95.

Theses

Attah, T. (2017) Halls without walls: perpetuation, development & dissemination of the discourse on blues music and blues culture in the digital age (1996-2016). PhD thesis. University of Salford.

Conferences, Talks & Presentations

Attah, T. Halls without walls: examining the development, dissemination and perpetuation of blues music and blues culture in the digital age, 53rd Annual Conference of the Royal Musical Society. University of Liverpool. 7-9 September 2017.

Attah, T. Halls without walls: examining the development, dissemination and perpetuation of blues music and blues culture in the digital age, Digital Folk Symposium. University of Sheffield. 19 April 2017.

Attah, T. ‘Ain’t no grave can hold my body down’: exploring the persistence of mythology in blues music and blues culture, ‘Equal Platforms’ Research Conference. University of Gloucester. 4 April – 5 April 2017.

Attah, T. To make purple, you need blue: Prince and the modern blues aesthetic, Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince. University of Salford. 24 May – 26 May 2017.

Attah. T. and Spelman. N. Sheila, take a bow: remembering Professor Sheila Whiteley, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). University of Sussex. 2016.

Attah, T. From the Delta to the Download: Influence and Effects of Technology in the Blues Innovation in Popular Music. Leeds College of Music. 2014.

Attah, T. Whose Blues?: Issues of Identity and Ownership in Contemporary Blues Music Culture and Performance, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). University of Glasgow. 2013.

Attah, T. Feels Like Going Home: Mythologising the Story of the Blues, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). University of Salford. 2012.