UB40 open music room at school in memory of founding member

St Edward's Catcholic School pupil Oskar Pineau receives his UB40 Award from the band in the new Brian Travers Music Room (Photo: Lyle Bignon)

Global reggae stars UB40 have officially opened 'The Brian Travers Music Room' at a Birmingham primary school, in honour of their late bandmate - a passionate supporter of music education for children and young people.

During a special ceremony at St Edward's Catholic School to unveil the new resource, founding members Jimmy Brown, Robin Campbell, Earl Falconer, and Norman Hassan paid tribute to their friend and colleague, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2019.

The dedicated music space at the South Birmingham primary school includes a new bespoke portrait of Brian Travers by city graffiti and street artist VOID alongside musical artwork and murals incorporating QR codes.

The room is designed to encourage pupils to research and celebrate artists and songs from the Midlands as part of a school-wide initiative to increase music education and improve empowerment and engagement amongst children. As part of UB40’s plans to provide continued sponsorship and support of the Brian Travers Music Room and school, band members presented the first of an annual prize – the UB40 Award – to eleven-year-old pianist Oskar Pineau, for his outstanding contribution to the school’s music community over the past 12 months.

The band’s instrument partner Roland has also provided new equipment to be used in the Brian Travers Music Room. Natalie Carry, Deputy Headteacher of St Edwards Catholic School, said:

"We were inspired when we heard about how Brian supported young people to develop their musical talents and felt it was perfect to dedicate our music room to him.

“We are really trying to develop an innovative, broad and balanced curriculum here at St Edward’s and want to ensure that our children are able to develop their creativity. 

“We are so proud of Oskar - he is so deserving of this award. Music is such an important part of all our lives, UB40 have and continue to inspire generations and it is fitting for us, a Birmingham school, to celebrate their continued success.

“Thank you to the band and team for continuing to support our children at St Edward’s.”

UB40’s ongoing commitment to the Brian Travers Music Room and the school underlines the importance their late bandmate and the band place on music provision in their home city – particularly crucial at a time when arts and music education across UK schools is under threat from declining resources and funding.

Robin Campbell, guitarist and songwriter with UB40, added: “It was very moving for us all to attend the unveiling of the Brian Travers Music Room and the wonderful tribute that the school has made in his memory.

“Brian’s legacy will live on, inspiring children to create and make music and that is a beautiful thing. We will continue to support St Edward’s through the UB40 Award and hope this encourages children keen on music to follow their dreams.”

Saxophonist Brian Travers, who passed away in August 2021 after a battle with cancer, was a founding member of the chart-topping reggae band in the city of Birmingham, playing a crucial role in shaping the sound of UB40 and performing and recording with the group up until his death.

A passionate ambassador for music internationally, nationally, and locally in his home city, Brian was responsible for encouraging many young musicians to take up studying instruments and pursue music as a career - including UB40 sax player Martin Meredith.

Martin, a neighbour of Brian’s as a child, showed such keen interest in music and the band, that Brian gave him a saxophone and pushed him to learn more about music. Martin went on to study music and form bands of his own as a teenager, ultimately being invited to join UB40’s iconic brass section – playing with the band for nearly three decades.

Brian supported a student award for the Music Business (BA Hons) degree course at Birmingham City University for over ten years, sending a letter of congratulations to each award-winner - selected for the most self-improvement and development over the course of their studies.

The Travers family have lent their support for the award to continue being presented as part of the musician's legacy. Earlier this year, teachers at St Edward's Catholic Primary School added learning about UB40 to their Oracy Curriculum as a way of introducing different music genres to children, developing their understanding of culture, identity, and community.

Members of the bestselling Birmingham band appeared at a special event, where the Selly Park school children from Reception class up to Year 6 presented their research and sang a selection of the seminal group's hits including Rat in mi Kitchen, Kingston Town, and Can't Help Falling in Love. With over 100 million albums sold worldwide, 50 UK Top 40 singles and 10 UK Top 10 albums, UB40 are the most decorated and successful Reggae group of all time.

Formed in Birmingham in 1978, they proudly wore their working-class roots on their sleeves, championing causes and concerns on songs that tackled political and social issues head-on. Capturing the hearts, minds, and dancing feet of disaffected British youth, that loyal audience has grown and evolved with them over the past 45 years, thanks to the power and importance of music that continues to resonate today as they fly the flag for the many.

On Bank Holiday Sunday 27 August 2023, UB40 will play a homecoming show to thousands at Moseley Park in Birmingham, celebrating 45 years of the iconic UK band who have also announced a major UK arena tour for November 2024.


Add a comment

Rating *

Recently Played


  • Available on the App Store
  • Available on Google Play

Useful Links


Travel News

How To Listen

Latest Podcasts

92.2 / 102.5 FM
'Play Black Country Radio'