Tag Archives: Reggae documentary

Irievibrations Records tell the story of Jamaican music production

Acclaimed Austrian label Irievibrations Records – led by Syrix and Professa – have produced an insightful short documentary series about the art of Jamaican music production. It’s an intimate look behind the art and history of how reggae music is crafted in its native Jamaica.

The first season of Studio Chronicles covers producers and mixing engineers like King Jammy, Stephen Stewart, who currently owns and operates the legendary Harry J studio, Don Corleon and Gussie Clarke. Featured artists and musicians include Konshens and his brother Delus along with Junior Kelly and Sly Dunbar.

The first three episodes are now available on Youtube and you can check the trailer below.

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New documentary tells the story about reggae from the Virgin Islands

The reggae scene in the Virgin Islands has grown a lot over the past ten years and is today a powerful force on the global reggae arena.

VI trailblazers Midnite are pioneers, even though reggae has been played on the islands since the 70s. Midnite’s socially conscious and take-no-prisoners style of roots, with extremely sparse arrangements and a dreader than dread approach, has paved the way for loads of other artists and bands from the Virgin Islands, including Bambú Station, Pressure, Army, Dezarie and Reemah.

French production company Reggaescape has produced a documentary about the roots movement in the Virgin Islands. Escape to St Croix VI dives deep into the culture, the history and the musical movement. It features music and interviews with several key artists and drops on September 15.

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Get to know Augustus Pablo’s son Addis Pablo

Addis Pablo – son of the late and great melodica player and producer Augustus Pablo – has over the past years taken up a career as a performer and producer following in his father’s footsteps.

Addis Pablo was raised by his father in a musical environment on Orange Street in Kingston, receiving the teachings and morals expressed by Augustus Pablo, and continued to be instilled by his mother.

Last year he dropped a number of strong cuts, and one of the best was a melodica cut on the Unfair riddim and a version of Selassie Souljahz.

In 2013 he also teamed up with Amsterdam based reggae powerhouse Jahsolidrock for his debut album. The Dutch label, known for albums from Apple Gabriel, Brinsley Forde and Chezidek, is likely a great partner for his musical project called In My Father’s House.

In the same tradition as Augustus Pablo and his Rockers International label, the Dutch label and Addis Pablo embark on a musical journey where rootsy reggae meets Rastafari mysticism and first class musicianship.

The Marc Baronner produced album will be available on February 25 and features artists like Earl Sixteen, Prince Alla, Sylford Walker, Chezidek and Exile the Brave. In the meantime, check this documentary about the project.

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Leonard Howell was the first Rasta

Reggae music is for many people synonymous with the teachings of Rastafari and Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, crowned Ras Tafari in November 1930. If you dig a little deeper in this philosophy you’ll find Jamaican Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), an important figure in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement as well as for the ideas behind Rastafari.

French film maker and director Hélène Lee has however dug way deep in the Rasta movement and made a documentary about a well-travelled Jamaican preacher called Leonard Percival Howell (1898-1981), contemporary with Marcus Garvey and perhaps the most important figure behind the creation and rise of the Rasta movement in Jamaica.

The First Rasta follows in the footsteps in Leonard Howell and contains interviews with his family, academics, co-workers, musicians, politicians and ordinary people.

In his late teen Leonard Howell boards a boat in Jamaica and travels the world. Upon his return to his home island after almost 20 years he has lots of ideas and criticizes the western way of living. He is regarded by the authorities as a revolutionary and refuses to pay taxes to King George VI of the United Kingdom and is in 1933 arrested for treason and blasphemy.

He’s jailed, ridiculed and treated as insane, but manages to establish the first Rasta community in 1939. In Pinnacle, as the community is called, the first ideas concerning Rasta are formulated.

Pinnacle is isolated from the rest of society and frowned upon by the authorities. The camp is raided several times before it is finally shut down in 1959. The Rasta followers start to spread all over Jamaica and many settles down in the Kingston ghetto areas, and contrary to what the authorities wanted the movement starts to gain followers, where some of the most well-known ones are Burning Spear and Bob Marley.

This is a well-researched documentary that goes beyond the mere obvious – marijuana, reggae and dreadlocks. Hélène Lee manages to present a movement and a complex person with inspiration ranging from spirituality and black awareness to communism.

Even though the Rasta’s lives were made difficult in the early years, the movement and the ideas behind Rastafari have spread all over the world, and have had a strong and positive impact on many people lives. And all of this thanks to a man regarded as a threat to society.

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