No Bass Like Home

Record shop owner Record shop owner

The story of how Harlesden, reggae and Trojan Records changed Britain forever

No Bass Like Home will tell the story of Brent’s contribution to music in Britain. During the 1970s reggae exploded in Brent: the first festival of Caribbean music took place at Wembley, Bob Marley lived in a house in 'Metroland', Janet Kay became the first British-born black female artist to score a UK number one, and the iconic Willesden label Trojan Records introduced the world to reggae.

Brent’s rich reggae heritage will be explored in The Bass Weekender (3-4 October 2020) – a weekend-long take-over of Harlesden’s high street, bars, community centres and churches showcasing performances from some of Brent’s finest reggae and bass pioneers, including Janet Kay, Don Letts, General Levy and Carla Marie Williams / Girls I Rate and Big Zeeks.

Brent 2020 is celebrating Brent’s vital place in reggae history by asking the local community – DJs, musicians, shop owners, promoters and music lovers – to share their stories to create a new digital archive of interviews, images and resources documenting Brent’s music history for a new generation. Explore the Reggae Archive - looking at themes of pioneering artists, fandom, women in reggae and sound system culture.

Also in 2020, Trojan Records will be inviting Brent-based DJs, remixers and producers to remix a track from their world-renowned catalogue – a unique opportunity to work with the iconic label that has cemented the careers of ska and reggae legends from Jimmy Cliff to Bob Marley.

Harlesden is both a bridge between Jamaica and the UK, and the place where something new comes from the connection. Britain's first homegrown reggae band, The Cimarons, met in a local youth club. Long before grime became London music, people around Harlesden pioneered lovers rock, jungle, drum n bass and other London variations on Jamaican sounds.

This is a story which has never quite had the platform it deserves, in the borough or around London, and in 2020 we want to tell it through the No Bass Like Home programme, and support the upcoming talent in the area.

Throughout 2020 a series of 'Bass Invasions' will take the programme out to central London venues with the aspiration to elevate Brent’s reggae roots and enter museums, galleries and institutions with a national profile across the capital.

If you would like to get involved, have a story to share, or photographs about the history and importance of reggae in the borough, please email zerritha@metrolandcultures.com


With thanks to the members of the No Bass Like Home Engagement Board who are guiding the project:

Brent Museum and Archives
Bryce Morodore – Blueprint Collective
Daniel Bailey – Community Advisor
Khaleel Williams – Blueprint Collective
Kyron J. Greenwood – Community Advisor
Marianna Zappi – Community Advisor
Michael Smith – Community Advisor
Dr Monique Charles – Author, Hallowed Be Thy Grime
Mykaell Riley – Bass Culture Research
Patricia Wharton – Community Advisor

Thanks also to the Harlesden Working Group, developing the Harlesden Weekender:

Carole Joie Thompson – Bang Edutainment
Clary Salandy – Mahogany Carnival Design
Errol Donald – Mindspray
Grace Nelson – Brent Town Centre Manager
Kwaku – British Black Music
Minal Patel – Red Tower Ltd
Patrick McKay – St Michael and All Angels Steel Orchestra
Sparky Rugged – Reggae Artist and Reggae Historian
Leroy Decosta Simpson – Harlesden Community Liaison Officer