BBC – Black Music Wales (2023)
English | Documentary | Size: 1.19 GB
Right now in Wales, something special is happening. There is an exciting black music scene making waves across Britain and beyond. A whole load of Welsh black artists such as Mace the Great, Juice Menace and Sage Todz are all over network radio, playing major festivals, and feeling love and respect from around the world. But it’s the first time in history a scene of this scale has enjoyed this kind of success. So why has it taken so long?
LEMFRECK – aka Lemarl Freckleton – is a rapper and musician from Newport. He is one of the rising stars of this current wave of talented new artists. In this documentary, he meets up with some of his fellow performers to find out why this movement is blowing up now, uncovering the problems and obstacles black artists have faced.
He also investigates the stories of some of the artists and musicians who pioneered black music in Wales before this current scene exploded. Many of these past artists have been forgotten, overlooked or hugely undervalued. For the first time, this programme shines a spotlight on their stories.
Artists such as Cardiff’s multimillion-selling MC Eric, who in the 1980s was an international star fronting Technotronic, known all over the world for their megahit Pump Up the Jam. Or Anthony ‘Drumtan’ Ward, drummer for some of reggae’s biggest stars, including Johnny Clarke, Horace Andy and Gregory Isaacs. There is singer Iris Williams, who went from a children’s home in the Valleys to becoming a hit singer with her own TV show. And Newport rock star Benji Webbe, who with his award-winning band Skindred, invented their own genre of ragga metal and have just headlined one of the biggest rock festivals in the world. As well as learning about their struggles, this is also very much a celebration of their music and achievements.
Through speaking to artists old and new, Lemarl reveals why it has been so tough to make it as a black artist from Wales – whether that’s through lack of support, snobbery and rejection from the rest of the UK, or just out-and-out racism that has closed doors and shut down opportunities.
With live music performances, previously unseen archive and exclusive new interviews, this programme reveals the incredible and significant contribution black musicians have made to Welsh culture.