Reggae in Britain: Dennis Bovell and Friends

Presented by Waka Waka Africa North East

Sage Two

Dennis Bovell tells the story, in words, film and music, of the first three decades of reggae in Britain – the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – and its origins in ska and rocksteady. With his band, and with archive film footage, he charts reggae’s importance in African-Caribbean culture/heritage, its place in the social & political context of the time and how it influenced other music forms and a whole range of British musicians.

Born in Barbados, reggae guitarist and singer Dennis Bovell (sometimes known under the pseudonym of Blackbeard) was one of the key figures on the London reggae scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s, not only as a solo artist but also as a producer. The band Bovell co-founded in the mid-‘70s, Matumbi, was one of England’s first self-contained reggae bands. In addition, Bovell released several albums of solo dub experiments, and he participated in the BBC’s Reggae Brittania season in 2011.

Writer Benjamin Zephaniah is contributing to this Arts Council-supported project and appears on film. He was part of the school known as the ‘Dub Poets’ – poets who worked alongside reggae music.

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