[2Minute Tease] The reggae roots of st pauls

Hannah Robathan 

If you’ve devoted part of your life to writing over 5,000 words on something it’s got to be interesting, right? This term Helicon Features is uncovering the wealth of original research Bristol students have to offer in just 2 minutes a pop. That’s one academic project, explained in 200 words, every weekend – from animal consciousness to printers printing printers.

Hannah Robathan goes first, exposing the foundations of reggae culture in St Paul’s, Bristol.

 

“THERE IS NOT A BRICK IN THE CITY BUT WHAT IS CEMENTED WITH THE BLOOD OF A SLAVE.”

               -  anon.

It is no secret that Bristol’s wealth was born out of the slave trade. Its evidence is declared on street corners; peppered through the city are road names such as Whiteladies Road, Blackboy Hill and Jamaica Street. The wave of Afro-Caribbean migration to Bristol during the slave trade bred its multicultural demographic, and the city’s status as a pinnacle of musical richness and pioneer of UK reggae owes itself to this.

In my research I’m examining Bristol’s sonic heritage of slavery, focusing on the St Paul’s community and their attitudes towards music not only as a connecting force but also as a mouthpiece through which their opinions can be voiced. Jamaica is present in Bristol: reggae provides a link between the people and their ancestors, and acts as a form of verbal history; to empower the voices of the oppressed slaves, one needs only to play their music.

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