The socio-cultural setting of the old continent tells us stories of migration and colonialism, deportation and diaspora, departures and arrivals in a network of transnational mobility where Great Britain is a central location - Since the early twentieth century, British society has been touched by several immigration waves from the peripheries of the former empire that carried rich, albeit contested, cultural legacies. The process had a profound effect on the character of a whole nation. The presence, the life and the survival of diasporic cultures - linked to the place of origin thanks to material as well as symbolic connections - together with the progressive process of settlement - generation after generation - are challenging the traditional notion of Britishness. Cultural consumption analysis is the tool that allows us to consider the new state of the nation, through the analysis of the consumption habits of popular music material. What are the traits of British musical production and consumption? Is there such a thing at all? How does it sound and what are its poetics? What kind of British culture does it represent? What role has traditional ethnic music played in the reconfiguration of the current British music scene? What kind of Britishness does it express? Can music effectively articulate belongingness? Our argument is that the connection between place, locality and listeners is crucial. Nonetheless it is important to read it through the local-global nexus. In order to do so, our perspective will be bifocal: from one side we will consider space and place as locally situated and defined, but also as the site of globalising tensions in a constant dialogue of mutual influences. Within this context, popular music - with its different genres - it’s a crucial cultural tool, both in the production process, and in the consumption process: it offers a platform for tackling down and articulating identity issues, such as ethnicity, belongingness and Britishness. The article offers a map of soundscapes of contemporary multiethnic Britain in the local-global nexus.
Keywords Britishness, place and identity, ethnicity, diaspora, multiethnic Britain, popular music consumption.