No Bass Like Home - surprisingly the powerhouse of reggae isn't exclusively Kingston, Jamaica
Where do you associate Reggae with? Jamaica? Brixton? Notting Hill? It seems that I've been missing a crucial part of the heritage - the part played by the London Borough of Brent, this year's London Borough of Culture.
I've now learnt that during the 1970s reggae exploded in Brent, with the borough becoming a powerhouse of producing and championing black British music across the UK and the world. Pioneering label Trojan Records, founded in Willesden in 1968, brought reggae music to British listeners for the first time, cementing the careers of reggae legends like Bob Marley and championing music by Caribbean immigrants. Sound systems and clubs across Brent blasted vital new music, and Brent produced musicians of its own, from Britain’s first homegrown reggae band The Cimarons to Janet Kay, the first British-born black female to top the UK charts.
I remember being blown away by Janet singing 'Silly Games'; when I first heard it in 1979, it was so fresh and completely different. So I'm thrilled to see that she's part of the line up of No Bass Like Home – a FREE seven-hour online festival, showcasing performances from local and international artists. No Bass Like Home will feature performances streamed from the Brent Black Music Co-op Recording Studios in Willesden, Brent, and Harry J Studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Between sets, the festival will uncover the musical, cultural and social history of reggae in and around Brent - the cradle of British reggae – including conversations with key figures from the Brent reggae community. NO BASS LIKE HOME - Sunday 15th November, 12.00 – 19.00: GIRLS I RATE PRESENTS ALICAI HARLEY, AMARIA, BRIXX AND DJ CARMEN SWEETIE IRIE CHUKKI STARR GENERAL LEVY SILVERSTAR SOUND JANET KAY STINGRAY PRESENTS… CHRISTOPHER ELLIS RANKING MERVA THE CIMARONS REGGAE CHOIR MARLA BROWN BIG ZEEKS & SHELLINGTON HIGH ROAD KEN BOOTHE JULIAN MARLEY HORACE ANDY TONY MATTERHORN Join the free festival here: https://www.brent2020.co.uk/whats-happening/programmes/no-bass-like-home/online-festival/