Rita Ray is an embodiment of performing arts. She has an outstanding repertoire in music, theatre, broadcast, and sound production.
Rita Ray – 6th AFRIMA Juror From The Diaspora Popularly known as a Club DJ, the dark-skinned music guru’s passion goes beyond scratching the wheel of steel; she is a celebrated music revolutionary. She presents the African music review on Focus on the BBC World Service and is a regular contributor and presenter on World Routes on BBC Radio 3 and The Arts Hour.
Rita has extensive and enviable experience as an international music consultant and has worked on programs such as the African Rock and Roll Years series.
She delved into music as a singer and was a founding member of the British pop band Darts, who had numerous platinum, gold and silver records. Her wide spectrum of global music made her popular in the early 1990s where she played at the legendary Mambo Inn club.
She was also an active participant in the revitalization of the World Music Scene in London during this era. Her unwavering passion and interest in traditional African music led to the birth of the Pan Afro music and culture session, Mwalimu Express which she founded with her colleague Max Reinhardt.
They also pioneered the Fela Kuti inspired Shrine club nights, and tours with their band the Shrine Synchro System all over Europe and Africa.
Her notable works as an international festival curator and consultant include Celebrating Sanctuary, Amazing Africa and The Mayors Thames Festival which was Europe’s largest anti-racist festival.
She also researched and presented “The Musical Legacy Of Slavery” series for BBC World Service and her award-winning documentary “A short History of 5 Notes”. Rita is currently presenting and consulting for the new BBC World Service series, Global Beats.
Rita’s vast knowledge of global music is aptly applied in her works which explore issues ranging from identity and tolerance to empowerment, working with disaffected youth, school children, young professionals and musicians for clients as diverse as the British Council and BBC New Talent.
She co-presented the first two BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music, compiled the annual CD and was later chair of the jury. Rita is one of the producers and the main interviewer for Screen Station’s award-winning documentary film, As Old As My Tongue: The Myth And Life of Bi Kidude, Zanzibar’s Taarab and Unyago legend.
Other sound production works of hers include the soundtrack for Contras City and silent films such as the ongoing commissions from The Birds Eye View among others.