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Decolonising The Archive presents

LEVELS: Africa in the Dancehall

Sunday 25 March

In a nutshell

An immersive exploration of the African roots of Jamaican Dancehall through film, discussion, music and movement.

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Slack and spiritual?

Dancehall culture is always under attack for its misogyny, materialism and morality – but is there another level? Behind the slackness lies a hidden language – a living archive of rhythm, movement and form connecting dancehall culture with African and Caribbean spiritual traditions.

LEVELS: Africa in the Dancehall is an immersive exploration of the African roots of Jamaican Dancehall through film, discussion, music and movement. It is a space to make connections, raise objections and create progressions.

What to Expect

  • The UK Premiere of feature-length film ‘Soul Rebel: The Untold Story Of Dancehall Music'.
  • The UK Premiere of short film ‘Everblessed’.
  • A Director Q&A and panel discussion exploring the themes raised in the film.
  • An interactive lecture exploring the connections between Dancehall and African/Caribbean traditions and spiritual practices.
  • A physical dance workshop exploring Dancehall movement and its African connections.

Who's Involved

SOUL REBEL - UK PREMIERE (Dir. Stéphane Delphin)
Music of the ghetto and the international charts, the roots of Dancehall extend long before its stylistic advent in the early 80s. SOUL REBEL traces its rhythms, movements and vocals to the first Jamaican religions in the 18th century and the African religions from which they came - practices ignored or despised by many Jamaicans. Including footage of ceremonies, interviews with Dancehall architects like Clevie Browne, Sly Dunbar, Sizzla, Gregory Peck, Powerman, Papa Jaro and Merciless and contributions from cultural scholars like Edward Seaga and Dr W Wedenoja, SOUL REBEL tells the half that has never been told! Director Stéphane Delphin is a radio host and filmmaker specializing in the Caribbean and Creole cultures of the Indian Ocean.
Watch the Soul Rebel trailer.

EVERBLESSED (Dir. Jeremy Relph/Nile Saulter, 2016)
A meditation on the sacred and profane and the thin line between them in Jamaican culture. Nile Saulter is a Jamaican director, cinematographer, photographer, and founding member of New Caribbean Cinema. His short films have been exhibited at The British Museum in London, The Michael Werner Gallery and the Grace Exhibition Space in New York. Various works have been screened at festivals in Toronto, Nigeria, Trinidad, Barbados, Cuba, St. Lucia, Jamaica, and London. Jeremy Relph is a journalist who specializes in stories set in crisis areas. He has an MA from the University of Manchester’s Creative Writing program and has published widely in publications including the New Yorker, Business Insider and the Toronto Star. 
Watch the Everblessed trailer.

REPERCUSSIONS (Dir. Dennis Marks, 1984).
Tracing the ties that bind the music of coastal Africa to the music of Europe and the Caribbean.

‘H’ Patten is the Artistic Director of Koromanti Arts. His career spans over 21 years, pioneering African and Caribbean music and dance. Trained in Ghana, H has collaborated with top choreographers and producers including F. Nii-Yartey (Ghana), Monika Lawrence (Jamaica), Keith Khan (UK) and The British Council (UK, West, Central and Southern Africa). Obtaining his masters in TV Documentary at Goldsmiths University College, he has developed Dance for Camera techniques, and is currently on the PhD programme at the University of Surrey, researching - Moving in the Spirit of Jamaican Dancehall: Continuities and change between traditional African dance and the Dancehall genre.

Find out more


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Things you should know

Please note: Tickets are sold externally. Book your LEVELS: Africa in the Dancehall tickets here.

Suitable for ages 18+.

This event is wheelchair accessible.

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