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THE STORY OF LOVERS ROCK

Gerald Langiri
March 08 / 2012

Lovers Rock, often dubbed ’romantic reggae’ is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance- known as ’scrubbing’ - at parties and clubs. This dance provided a coping mechanism for what was happening on the streets. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40) these influences underline the impact the music was making in bridging the multi-cultural gap that polarized the times. The film sheds light on a forgotten period of British music, social and political history.

Notably, this sound has found its way into the Kenyan music scene with many Reggae fans embracing it wholly. To screen this film in Nairobi is therefore an honor, to have lovers of the Lovers Rock genre of music get a chance to know how the sound came to be is indeed a great start.

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.

Similar to the broader Reggae music history, Lovers Rock is set up 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, Levi Roots, Linston Kwesi among others.

Since its release in September 2011, The Story of Lovers Rock has shown to full cinemas in the UK and New York and is arguably one rich docufilm. History needs to be preserved and Menelik Shabazz has ensured that nobody will forget the Story of Lovers Rock.

“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”. Says Menelik.

SHOW DATE IN KENYA

Intrinsic Concepts in collaboration with the Sarakasi Trust screened this film in Kenya. The show date was 11th February 2012. The audience got a chance to enjoy a romantic dinner after the film at the Sarakasi Dome rooftop .There was entertainment from the ever scintillating Sarakasi dancers and a Koko band belted out great lovers rock ballads.

Talks are in place to hold another screening soon. It is Intrinsic Concepts’ goal that films with an African concept-both local and international, get to a screen near you. We will work with film makers here and abroad to keep the scene a buzz with back to back screenings of films.

ABOUT THE PRODUCER Menelik Shabazzmakes a comeback with Lovers Rock. His previous works include;

 

TIME AND JUDGEMENT

Time and Judgement is a sci-fi/documentary that combines biblical prophecy with events across the African Diaspora between 1980 and 1987. Archive footage includes Haile Selassie, Bob Marley, Kwame Nkrumah, Maurice Bishop, Walter Rodney, Kwame Toure, Bernie Grant.

BURNING AN ILLUSION

Black British cult classic about a young woman looking for Mr Right. The man she meets forces her to confront her dreams and leads her to an awakening. Includes extras and commentaries.

A skilled documentarian, Menelik Shabazz has gifted the film industry with stories that will live way beyond their time.

 

P.S For more information on the film, visit www.loversrockthefilm.com.

 

Film Review done by Pascaline Wangui

 

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