“Not since the Mediterranean Island of Crete a few thousand years ago has an island of comparable size exercised such a disproportionate influence on global culture” – Akala – musician, poet and one the finest chroniclers’ of modern times in the UK digs into the roots of Reggae.
It’s a brilliant piece of work, joining the dots of the origins of Rastafarianism and the concurrent musical movements in Jamaica, and spools forward to make connections with the UK scene, (or indeed various interconnected UK scenes; Skinhead, Reggae, Punk, 2 Tone; The Story Of Skin Head with Don Letts is an equally great companion piece to this, mentioned elsewhere on the site). There are interviews with heavy hitters from across the spectrum including; Big Youth, Sly & Robbie, Steel Pulse, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Akala is perceptive in his questions and smart in his analysis, and the music is, as you might imagine, uniformly magnificent. Check it out here.
Whilst we’re here, a shout out for another great BBC documentary, (fair play they’re on fire at the moment). “The Seven Killings Of Marlon James” is a fascinating life story and study of the construction of “A Brief History Of Seven Killings”, as well as an examination of the Jamaican History that frames the novel. In particular the analysis of the Smile Jamaica concert in 1976 and the attempt on Bob Marley’s life is terrific, (yet again it’s another fine companion piece to Akala’s documentary, which also covers the One Love Peace Concert in 1978, when Marley made his return). It’s also a history of Marlon James the writer and how the 3 novels connect with his life story, and it’s well worth an hour of your time, check it out here.