You may know the artists, but do you know the story behind them? A great new production called The Story of Reggae is premiered at Sage Gateshead on 5th December.

With an evening of spoken word, music and film, renowned dub reggae master Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell will take the audience on an immersive journey through the first three decades of Reggae in Britain, from the 1950’s – 1980’s.

Opening at 8pm on the 5th December in Sage 2, this vibrant story-telling performance will include live musical performances by Dennis Bovell and his band and recorded spoken word by ‘Dub Poet’ Benjamin Zephaniah and Linton Kwesi Johnson.


Presented by Waka Waka Africa North East and with support from Arts Council England, The Story of Reggae will be an unmissable event for the calendar and a rare opportunity to hear the sounds and national history of this beloved music genre from the mouths of those who helped make it great.

“We are so excited to be bringing our first showing of Story of Reggae to the North East of England for everyone to enjoy. Our main message throughout the show is that reggae deserves its rightful place in the music hall of fame and in history as the foundation of different musical genres, crossovers and hits. We want to chart its movement in Britain and its engulfing of different cultures and people – for example the rock and reggae genres fuelling each other in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The Story of Reggae will depict all of this chronologically with key events and figures in a vibrant performance of live music, various interviews and film – commentated by reggae authority, historian and legend Dennis Bovell.” – Maurice Dezou, founder and producer of The Story of Reggae and co-founder of Waka Waka Africa North East.

The Story of Reggae features live interviews with Linton Kwesi Johnson, Don Letts, Benjamin Zephaniah, Janet Kay, Suggs (Madness), Ranking Rodger (The Beat), Carol Thompson, Karen Wheeler and Jazzy B.

The show will also include the music of Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Decker, Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Janet Kay, Toots and the Maytals, Sister Nancy, Assad, Steel Pulse, Althea and Donna, Millie Small, Prince Buster, the Skatalites, Ken Booth, UB40, The Specials, Matumbe, Black Slate and more.

Tickets are £13 and are available from the Sage Gateshead website or from the ticket office on 0191 443 4661.

Dennis Bovell (otherwise known as Blackbeard) is one of the co-founders for The Story of Reggae and is a renowned Reggae guitarist, solo artist and producer from Barbados. Bovell was one of the key figures on the London Reggae scene in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Bovell co-founded the band, Matumbi, in the 1970’s, one of England’s first self contained Reggae bands. Bovell has also released several albums and solo dub experiments and participated in the BBC’s Reggae Britannia season in 2011. A more extensive bio and track listing can be found here:
 Maurice Dezou is the co-founder and producer for The Story of Reggae and co-founder of Waka Waka Africa North East.. Originally from the Ivory Coast, Dezou has many years experience of film and music production both locally and internationally, and has contributed to recordings by various artists such as Boy George and Dennis Bovell.
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