Gala offers insight to Black British Music Culture
"The Story of Lover's Rock" to open
CaribbeanTales Toronto Showcase
August 7, 2012
by J.P. Hodgkinson
TORONTO – The 7th CaribbeanTales Toronto Showcase opens on Wednesday September 5, 2012, with a Gala Launch and the Canadian Premiere of the internationally celebrated Black British music documentary, The Story of Lover’s Rock.
The event kicks off with a reception at Harbourfront’s Lakeshore Terrace, sponsored by the Toronto Consulate of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, and featuring a live performance by Kobo Town a young "ole time kaiso" band led by Trinidadian Drew Gonzalez.
The Story of Lover’s Rock has already screened to sold out audiences in Great Britain, as well as to full houses at New York's African Diaspora International Film Festival, the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, and earlier this year at the 3rd annual CaribbeanTales in Barbados.
The film's director, Barbadian-born Menelik Shabazz, was raised in London and began his filmmaking career during the tumultous 70's. His break-through first feature, "Burning An Illusion", now a classic of Black British cinema, traces the political awakening of a young Jamaican woman in the racially charged environment of Britain at the time.
During the 90's and 2000's Shabazz founded and led an innovative glossy magazine and E-newzletter project profiling Black World cinema, called Black Filmmaker Magazine. He also founded and ran the BFM Film Festival for 8 years.
The Story of Lover’s Rock marks his return to filmmaking after a long hiatus.The film traces the evolution of a new genre of reggae music in the 1970's, created by West Indian immigrants in the British capital. It is about a generation – the first to be raised and schooled in Britain – coming to voice, and creating a vibrant sub-culture within, even as it struggled to come to grips with an increasingly oppressive and aggressive "mainstream" culture without.
Much like Motown before it, "Lover’s Rock" began as a small record label before its sound blossomed into the wider public’s consciousness as a genre unto itself. For years Lover’s Rock was played exclusively at London house parties by Jamaican immigrants who, according to Slant magazine reviewer Chuck Bowen, “were often banned from pubs".
As with most things West Indian, the new music was a fusion of elements: reggae bass lines provided the foundation for the soulful melodies which soared above, usually punctuated by sultry female vocals.