In attempted to boost black gospel sales, Travail Records is formed

A NEW distribution company has been formed with the aim of widening the availability of black gospel music in the UK. Travail Records is based in Bromley and is the brainchild of husband and wife team Pearl and Erod Jarrett. They already have UK rights to produce on US gospel labels Tyscott and Tribute, including albums by Deliverance, Ben Tankard, Chronicles and Trenora Parker, and will be distributing new product by British acts like the Inspirational Choir and Freddie Kofi.

"We've been setting the company up for three years now," ex-LCGC singer Pearl told Cross Rhythms. "We've been back and forth to America and seen what's available there, then come back here and seen that there is a massive hole in the business side of the industry." She wants to see a far greater variety of records available at lower prices, with gospel readily available in mainstream record stores.

"On every corner there's an independent record store selling hip-hop and rap - but they don't sell gospel. When we ask them about it they say they would sell it if they could get hold of it, which is where we come in.

When we do put gospel in the independent shops people generally buy it - it's not just the black people who buy it." Pearl sees the work of a company like Word UK, who license a lot of gospel from the US, as "great - but they don't always know how to market and distribute the music to the black church scene.

"Travail are hoping to develop links with the major name Christian record companies to help develop their niche marketing in this area.

Speaking of the future, Pearl says the company would like to be able to "plough money back in to British gospel - it hasn't had enough support."  CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.