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Lover's Rock

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The Story of Lovers Rock is a new documentary film that tells the story of how Lovers Rock music defined a generation in the late 70s and 80s hugely impacting on British Pop Culture. The film is produced and directed by award winning director/producer Menelik Shabazz. The feature length documentary contains interviews, comedy sketches, dance, live performances and archive footage which are used to shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it.

Lovers Rock often dubbed romantic reggae is a unique British sound, the genre developed against a backdrop of racial tension, the Brixton riots and sound systems in the late 70s and 80s. It went from a small UK scene to become a global phenomenon through artists like UB40 and Maxi Priest.

Shabazz stated.

“The film connects the music with the children of that era, a generation whose story has rarely been told. Lovers Rock was significant because it provided the space for young people to share intimate feelings through dance which is absent with today’s generation”.

Despite international success the genre has been hugely ignored by the British mainstream. Yet the music went on to influence a number of successful bands in the 80s like Culture Club, Sade, and the Police. Lovers Rock helped to bridge a multicultural gap that polarized the times.

The list of contributors include UB40 , Maxi Priest, Levi Roots, Linton Kwesi Johnson, comedians Angie Le Mar, Robbie G, Eddies Nestor alongside new artists like Ava Leigh and Lovella Ellis.

Today the music is being embraced by young talent like Ava Leigh and Lovella Ellis, daughter of the legendary reggae artist Alton Ellis.

Ava said “Lovers rock is the first genre of reggae I had ever heard; we come from a small town called Chester, up North, where there is no reggae scene, or any music scene. So the first time I heard that genre was my mum, my mum really loved Lovers Rock”.

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This talk is part of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) History Season series.

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