10 August 2018
Once again our temple of Reggae knowledge opens its doors to take the pulse of the reggae music industry and to analyse the evolution of the rhythms that enrich and perpetuate the extensive range of Jamaican music. The Reggae University blooms in this our 25th anniversary packed with proposals that are faithful to its philosophy: it has become a vital meeting point for musicians, producers, writers, academics that enter into a horizontal dialogue with its audience. Five talks, six film screenings, a Rasta seminar and a collective chant workshop with Emeterians complete the cultural commitment of this emblematic space.
The movie The Harder They Come (1972),starring Jimmy Cliff will be screened on August 17. Jimmy Cliff himself will perform on Main Stage that night. The screening will be followed by the first session, which will discuss the current state of violence in Jamaica and will be led by Cocoa Tea (who will have performed together with Koffee the previous night) and Maria Carla Gullotta, Italian Honorary Consul in Jamaica and the president of the Stand Up for Jamaica association. Also participating in the talk will be Dr. Sonjah Stanley-Niaah, director of the Institute Caribbean Studies from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
On August 18 the national premiere of Duke Vin and the birth of ska will pave the way for the subsequent talk that will discuss the crucial role of Alpha Boy’s School as a training group for brass musicians in the 50s and 60s and how this gave birth to much ska and reggae, and groups such as the Skatalites. Johnny Osbourne and Vin Gordon, alumni of the school, will share first hand testimony and they also feature in the line-up on August 17 and 18. They will be joined by Heather Augustyn and Adam Reeves, authors of the book Alpha Boy’s School: Cradle of Jamaican Music, on which this session is built.
Dub will be at the heart of the session on August 19, with the screening of the world premiere of Dub Talks and the talk Dub Evolution that will address the past, present and future of this Jamaican genre. Starting with its creation in Jamaica as a component of sound system culture that soon became standard for 45 B-sides and then as cult LPs, how it evolved in Britain and later in Europe, Japan, USA, and elsewhere, and then its more recent revival in Jamaica. Representing will be the music producer Gussie Clarke; Professor of Goldsmiths University in London, Julian Henriques; Sevi, of Greenlight Sound System and MC Oliva, of Blackboard Jungle.
The next film focuses on the resistance against political oppression in India through reggae and the sound system movement with the short documentary India’s Reggae Resistance. It will be screened on Monday 20 and leads into a Reggae University session with David Rodigan, who will discuss his incredible and multifaceted career, the ups and downs, and particular highlights, the day after his incursion on Main Stage with a classical 25 piece orchestra.
For the penultimate day of our 25th anniversary, on Tuesday 21, the Reggae University session will focus on the current state of the reggae industry, looking at the problems and challenges it faces, and the way forward with contributions from Gussie Clarke; Sonjah Stanley-Niaah; Jerome Hamilton, from Headline Entertainment; and Patricia Meschino from Billboard (USA). The session will be preceded by the French production I&I. The progam will close on Wednesday, August 22, with the Rasta seminar where Ras Flako will present the work developed while building a farm in Jamaica, which guarantees the food and health rights of the Rastafarian Elders who are at risk of social exclusion.