Born OTD in 1939, DJ, radio presenter, record producer and journalist, John Peel. John was one of the first broadcasters to play psychedelic rock & progressive rock records on British radio, and he is widely acknowledged for promoting artists working in a multitude of genres including dub, reggae, punk, post-punk, electronic music, dance music, indie rock, extreme metal, and British hip hop.

Through nigh-on forty years of laconic brilliance on Radio 1, a musical taste which defined a culture and his wildly … More

Born OTD in 1952, Jamaican dub poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson. What is the relationship between poetry and social change? Standing at the forefront of political poetry since the 1970s, Linton Kwesi Johnson has been fighting neo-fascism, police violence and promoting socialism while putting pen to paper to refute W.H. Auden’s claim that ‘poetry makes nothing happen’. For Johnson, only the second living poet to have been published in the Penguin Modern Classics series, writing has always been ‘a political act’ and poetry ‘a cultural weapon’.

In Dread Poetry and Freedom – the first book dedicated to the work of this ‘political poet par excellence’ – … More

Born OTD in 1941, Jamaican record producer, Bunny “Striker” Lee. Lee began his career working as a record plugger for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label in 1962, later performing the same duties for Leslie Kong. He then moved on to work with Ken Lack, initially in an administrative role, before taking on engineering duties. Lee then moved into producing (i.e. financing) records himself, his first hit record coming with Roy Shirley’s “Music Field” on WIRL in 1967. Lee then set up his own Lee’s label, the first release being Lloyd Jackson’s “Listen to the Beat”.

Omnipresent on the Jamaican music scene for over four decades, Bunny Striker’ Lee is one of the most important figures … More

Born OTD in 1936, Jamaican music producer and inventor noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style, Lee ‘Sratch’ Perry. With more than 1,000 releases to Lee “Scratch” Perry’s name in some form or other, there is a wealth of material for fans and collectors to immerse themselves in, and here is the essential reference; an extensive, detailed, heavily illustrated guide to the records produced by Perry and those that hailed from his legendary Black Ark Studio

Innovator, genius, forward thinker, and trendsetter; there are few individuals who have stamped quite as unique a footprint onto the … More

‘Sound Reasoning’ is a unique photographic journey through the Dancehall scene of the 1980’s with short excerpts from interviews Anna Arnone did with a whole host of artists from the scene. Coxsone, Saxson, Macka B., Smiley Culture are just a few of the names featured. Benjamin Zephaniah’s introduction to the book is very personal. He illustrates the importance of Sound System culture and just how powerful their pull was on the youth whose roots were in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, and how integral reggae, MC’s and Dancehall were to the continuing tradition of the spoken word as a way of spreading news, storytelling and poetry.

The book also covers much of the background and history to the Sound Systems in Anna’s images of and words … More

Born #OTD in 1952, the Jamaican dub poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson. A cultural icon for black British artists since the 1970s, Linton Kwesi Johnson is known as a performer and recording artist as much as a writer, for poetry that blends the bass and rhythm of reggae music with his deep spoken voice.

  A selection of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s best poems over three decades. Ranging from protests against police brutality to eulogies … More