Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae a documentary film whose working title was Get Ready To Rocksteady is gonna be ifficially launched in Toronto this Friday, July 24th. A concert is set for the following night in Kensington Market's Embassy featuring Montreal's Mossman - musical producer for the doc and the full length accompanying album, 'longside the Pressure Drop crew - Chuck Boom, Guv'nor General and Greg Lawson. Here is the doc's press release an' trailer, be sure to check their website for more info on the album and screenings - crucial iducation Iyah!
NEW DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM & ALBUM
The documentary film Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae is a musical journey to Jamaica's Golden Age of music, Rocksteady. The film features the music and stories of the legendary singers and musicians of the Rocksteady era. They come together after 40 years to record an album of Rocksteady hits, to perform together again at an All-Stars reunion concert in Kingston, Jamaica, and to tell their story.
Rocksteady was the rage on the Caribbean island in the Mid 1960's. By 1968, Rocksteady had transformed into Reggae, the popular musical style known and loved around the world today. While everybody has heard the music of Bob Marley, the superstar of Reggae, few people know that it was Rocksteady that developed the buoyant rhythms, prominent bass pulse, soulful vocals and socially conscious lyrics that gave Reggae its power.
In their own words, the Rocksteady singers and musicians tell the audience about the 1960s in Jamaica, a roller-coaster decade during which the island was transformed politically, socially, economically and culturally.
In 1962, the island gained its independence from Great Britain. During the next few years, there was celebration, optimism, economic growth and opportunity. Recording studios popped up all over Kingston, competed for the best artists and produced an astounding number of songs, many of which became hits in Jamaica and overseas. Many wonderful and famous songs were created during this era, such as (No No No) You Don't Love Me Anymore, Tide Is High and Rivers of Babylon. By 1968, however, Jamaica's economic bubble had burst and unemployed youths fought with police for control of the streets. As violence, poverty and political upheaval spread, Rocksteady artists stopped singing about love and romance and instead gave voice to the social problems around them.
The performers include Hopeton Lewis, a Gospel-Reggae singer in New York who recorded the first Rocksteady song Take it Easy when he was 16; Dawn Penn, nowadays a community worker in London, whose Rocksteady song You Dont Love Me Anymore, No No No, was re-recorded by many other artists and became a world hit; Wilburn Stranger Cole (Love Me This Evening), who had left Jamaica for a new life in Canada; Marcia Griffiths, a Reggae performer who still tours the world (Tide is High); Ken Boothe, who performs in Reggae festivals worldwide (Shanty Town, 007); Derrick Morgan (Tougher Than Tough), a famous Ska singer who also had numerous hits during the Rocksteady era; Leroy Sibbles (Equal Rights), who, as part of the Heptones, created many Rocksteady songs; and U-Roy (Stop That Train), a toaster who influenced rap music in the U.S.; and Judy Mowatt (Silent River Runs Deep), who, with Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley, was part of the I-Threes, legendary backup singers for Bob Marley. In a special appearance, Rita Marley tells the audience about her life in Trenchtown in the 1960s with Bob Marley.
The musicians featured in the film include Earnest Ranglin, Sly Dunbar, Jackie Jackson, Gladstone Anderson, Hux Brown, Lloyd Parks and Scully Simms among others.