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Bass Culture: The Influence of Reggae Music in Britain and Beyond

#sxsw #ukreggae

Born from the garrisons of Jamaica, reggae music has given a voice to disaffected peoples of all cultures and all backgrounds around the world. Reggae, brought over by the influx of Jamaican citizens emigrating to the UK from the 1950’s onward, presented a safety net and clarion call to all those Jamaicans who felt themselves living in a Babylonian system which did not care for them or their culture. By the 1970’s, with police violence against ethnic minorities an everyday fact of life for those living in Britain’s cities, the songs of reggae singers such as Dennis Brown and Bob Marley reminded the youth they were not alone. By 1977, white audiences were exposed to reggae at punk events across the UK, and the message of rebel intention resonated with them, creating unity across the racial divide, and eventually filtering out beyond the punks into mainstream culture and worldwide influence. Today, reggae music’s ability to evolve and influence other genres is still relevant with new forms like Dubstep, Grime and BASS music, all pushing new boundaries.


MODERATOR Mykaell Riley Head of Music Production Univeristy Westminster


Fellow of Arts & Business & Royal Society for the Arts

Background - Mykaell S Riley has had a career in music for over thirty years, starting out with Steel Pulse, who went on to win a Grammy. Over the years he has performed, produced, managed and consulted on many successful artists and their projects.

As a professional writer / producer, Mykaell’s work has encompassed TV, Film and Theatre, but mainly albums, over twenty of them - resulting in over eleven top twenty positions, and three number ones. Here are just some of the acts he has been involved with: - Soul II Soul's, Jamaroqui, Peter Andre, Bjork, East 17, Gabriel, Dina Carroll, Wet Wet Wet, Mark Morrison, The Chimes, China Black, Sly & Robbie, Shara Nelson, Baba Maal and Maxi Priest to name but a few.

He is also the founder of Britain's first black orchestra, The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra - for which he wrote and produced three albums and co-produced a 50min documentary for channel 4. He’s also composed for ITV1, 2,3, the BBC 1,2, SKY and Endemol.

Academia - Head of Music Production, at University of Westminster, where he has assisted in the development of the commercial music course over the last 15 years. He’s been instrumental in establishing the first and only National Residential Urban Music Summer School at HE level. Also in association with the University of Westminster, he has establishing the Black Music Research Unit. He’s been an educational speaker, consultant, and music industry advisor for; the Mayor of London, Arts council England, The British Museum, The Maritime Museum, The V&A, Open University, City University, South Themes College, and is also currently external examiner for Leeds College of music.

The Arts – Amongst his many projects Mykaell has focused on developing music and educational content for the BME community whilst creating new links, between Higher Education and the music industry. I.e. The Value of Jazz in Britain Report, the first national mapping of UK jazz.

Since 2004 he has been working to established the concept of ‘Bass Culture” (the impact of reggae on Britain over the last fifty years). This will culminate in the first major black music exhibition 2014. Partnerships include: national museums, libraries and academic institutions in the UK and the Caribbean.

This work has been recognised by arts organisations resulting in his appointment as a Fellow of both Arts & Business & Royal Society for the Arts.

Mikey Dread DJ Channel One Sound System

Lady Leshurr Artist Lady Leshurr

Robbo Ranx DJ BBC Radio/BBC Radio 1

Karl Neilson Dir AEI Media/UKF

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