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Free Content Documenting London’s bass culture and blues dances: Reggae in the films of Horace Ové and Franco Rosso

This article provides an analysis of two black British feature films – Horace Ové’s 1975 film, Pressure and Franco Rosso’s 1980 film, Babylon – and integrates the films into a wider discussion of life in Britain during the 1970s–80s. Drawing on the musical and cultural theories of Paul Gilroy and on the poet Linton Kwesi Johnson’s concept of ‘bass culture’, the author argues that reggae creates what Clare Corbould calls an ‘aural community’ that is simultaneously local and transnational. The reggae soundtracks layer Britain’s black history into the built space of London, insisting that the films’ audiences hear the ongoing reverberations of the British histories of slavery and colonialism.

Keywords: Black Atlantic; Black British; Franco Rosso; Horace Ové; film music; reggae studies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: SOAS, University of London

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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