Back to basics in Brent


Back to basics in Brent

Observer senior writer

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

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'No Bass Like Home', an expose looking at the Jamaican and reggae presence in the London borough of Brent, is scheduled to open there in October.

It is one of the priority projects for the Brent 2020 London Borough of Culture Committee, of which Zerritha Brown is a senior producer.

She spoke to the Jamaica Observer this week about the event which takes place October 3-4 at Harlesden High Street, Harlesden Bass Weekender.

No Bass Like Home is the story of how Harlesden, reggae and Trojan Records changed Britain forever. In the 70s, reggae exploded in Brent, with many Jamaican reggae artistes and musicians making it their home along with record labels such as Trojan and Jetstar,” she said.

Brown added that, “No Bass Like Home is an opportunity to celebrate Brent's contribution to reggae and black British music in the UK, and the No Bass Like Home reggae map was created to capture the iconic people and places that have shaped Brent's reggae history.”

To ensure authenticity, Brown has worked with several Jamaicans who helped make Brent a focal point for reggae in the United Kingdom. They include Locksley Gichie of The Cimarrons, deejay Dennis Alcapone, and singer/activist Delroy Washington.

The Westmoreland-born Washington died March 27 in a London hospital, at age 67, reportedly from the coronavirus.

According to Brown, persons attending Harlesden Bass Weekender will revisit the early days of the Jamaican in Brent through modern technology.

“A digital sound archive brings this to life through people's memories and personal thoughts about the borough's contribution to reggae, its impact and legacy,” she said.

This will be complemented by seminars and workshops.

Brown was born in Brent to a Jamaican father and Trinidadian mother. She has been involved in major events for her hometown including 'Windrush 70', a 2018 exhibition focusing on West Indians who settled in Brent which is located in north-west London.

Her father, guitarist Trevor “Starr” Brown, went to the United Kingdom in the early 1970s as part of a band backing Dave Barker and Ansell Collins, who had a big hit there with Double Barrel.

Brent was also home to Trojan Records, founded in 1968 by Jamaicans Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell. It became the biggest distributor of reggae in the UK, releasing massive hit songs like Young, Gifted And Black by Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths, and Ken Boothe's Everything I Own; as well as John Holt's 1000 Volts of Holt album.

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