Troika #28: DJ Derek
I’ve never been into reggae. Ska I can at least listen to, but I’ve always found reggae harder work. It’s always felt sluggish, overly-repetitive and irrelevant – music for another culture that wasn’t meant for me.
Earlier this year I discovered DJ Derek, sadly because of his death, but have since been looking more into this fascinating character. Derek Serpell-Morris was an accountant who grew up in Bristol, who left his career behind to follow his passion of playing reggae, ska and rocksteady. Even into his 70s, he would travel the country with his record collection, DJing clubs and pubs, MCing in Jamaican Patois.
Daddy G of Massive Attack had this to say about him:
He’s a testament to the power of music to change individuals and, in so doing, change the idea of what it means to be British.
On a day when Britain is voting whether to leave the EU, a move which seems to be driven solely by intolerance, patriotism and xenophobia, his story seems apt. If this man could find relevance and connection with the music, then the least I could do is listen to playlists of his favourite records and try and pick three for a Troika. So that’s what I’ve done! The process hasn’t converted me, but at least I’ve found some songs that I’m happy to listen to…
- ‘Police and Thieves’ by Junior Murvin
- ‘I Chase the Devil’ by Max Romeo and the Upsetters
- ‘One love’ by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Excerpts were also taken from the excellent video interview DJ Derek Pt. 1 on Vimeo.
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All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.