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BBC IPlayer - Reggae Fever: David Rodigan

BBC IPlayer - Reggae Fever: David Rodigan cover

Enjoyed this BBC 4 documentary the other day....

Reggae Fever: David Rodigan

David Rodigan's unlikely career as a reggae broadcaster and DJ has developed in parallel with the evolution of Jamaican music in the UK. His passion and his profession have given him a privileged, insiders' view of the UK's love affair with Jamaican music that began in the 1950s. His constant championing of it has afforded him national treasure status with generations of British Jamaicans and all lovers of reggae music. 

This is a film about the career of David Rodigan but it's also a window through which to see a wider human story about social change in the UK: a story of immigration and integration, and music's role within it. 

The beginning of his career conjures up a forgotten era when reggae was reviled by liberal, hippyish music fans because of its association with skinheads. At one point, his fellow students agreed to share a house with him only if Rodigan agreed not to play reggae. Instead, he would haunt London's specialist record shops and sneak out to Jamaican clubs alone. 

His break first came on BBC Radio London, where his knowledge and infectious enthusiasm won him the gig. Since that first break, he's had shows on Capital, Kiss and now BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Radio 2. In the 80s, his radio show became such a Sunday lunchtime fixture in London's West Indian households that it was colloquially known as 'rice 'n' peas'. Bob Marley personally chose Rodigan's show to play out the world exclusive of Could You Be Loved. 

As well as being a DJ, Rodigan also began to 'soundclash' on a global stage. This musical competition where crew members from opposing sound systems pit their skills against each other involves the playing of records in turn, with the crowd ultimately deciding who has 'killed' the other crew, by playing the better chosen track. But standard versions of tracks don't cut it in a clash, where the true currency is 'dubplates' - versions of tracks recut, often by the original artist, with lyrics changed to praise the playing crew or diss the opposing one. 

In Jamaica, after he began clashing live on national radio with DJ Barry G, he became so famous that his name was even adopted by a Kingston gangster. He began competing on the World Soundclash stage alongside the likes of Jamaica's Stone Love and Japan's Mighty Crown as the soundclash became a global phenomenon. David is probably the only person ever to have been awarded an MBE and the title of World Clash Champion. 

In recent years, Rodigan's live DJ appearances have started attracting a far younger audience. It can be seen as a reflection of the way different forms of music from the different cultures that have arrived in Britain over the last 70 years have integrated, taken root and spawned new scenes, attitudes and tastes. 

As well as appearing at student unions across the country and continuing to clash by himself, he's also now a part of clash crew Rebel Sound, first assembled for Red Bull Culture Clash in 2014. In this environment, David found himself amidst a melting pot of beats, loops and popping, infectious bass-driven riddims - playing to the kids who are discovering him and therefore reggae music through other artists. 

Now in his 40th professional year, David is quite rightly celebrating, his passion for the music he loves burning as brightly as ever. This film is a testament to this most unlikely of reggae aficionados - a celebration of a man whose story is strangely intertwined with not only the evolution of music in this country but also the evolution of the culture.

 

As said found it most enjoyable
anyone out there remembers Rodigans Rockers his regular BFBS show that run for 25 years!

View online via 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0brzpsb/reggae-fever-david-rodigan




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If ever there was a show to put the word 'legend' into perspective! 👍

Edited by Mark R

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I watched and enjoyed this. Never heard of David Rodigan previously - came across as a very ordinary and unassuming man, but with an enormous passion for the music.  I guess at that time there must have been some very scary moments when he first began his ventures into that world. Don't know if the programme mentioned it as I missed the beginning.  Made me laugh out loud when Trevor Nelson spoke of the Islands taxi drivers saying simply "Rodigan?"

Great programme and definitely a kindred spirit.

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Great programme..shame more people don't know of his importance in promoting West Indian music in this country..had fair few 7" over the years stamped with..I got it at ram jam rodigans..very humble man too..great to see Peckings get some exposure too..

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 Just Brilliant. Total love of music. Absolute Legend. Feel a real glow from watching. Respect Sir.

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Anyone have a link so I can watch it in Canada? BBC iPlayer allowed me to register a Canadian email address and then blocks it?

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8 minutes ago, newer said:

Anyone have a link so I can watch it in Canada? BBC iPlayer allowed me to register a Canadian email address and then blocks it?

It's not so much your email address, but your IP address that gets you blocked.  You can trying using a VPN  (virtual private network)  that makes it look like you're in the UK.

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I had already been bitten by the Reggae bug by the time I was listening to Rodigan's  legendary Saturday night shows on Capital Radio. But he opened up the music to me and so many others , heart and soul. His enthusiasm is infectious , his depth of knowledge bottomless and his jingles priceless.(Ive still got some cassettes as well !)  This programme captures  and presents his boundless energy and commitment to the music he loves so much and which of us here couldn't appreciate that. It took a while re realise it was partly done by him and both about him with some great input/tributes  from people in the Biz. (I was surprised  it didn't;t include Norman and Joey Jay. ) The market record stall and his search for Studio One classics left me envious and full of even more admiration for the man . He belongs up there with Norman Jay and John Peel for my musical inspirations. I wasn't;t aware of the book which is now on order and this is a half hour interview from its launch which repeats some of the BBC 4 programme but adds some more including Q and As from an audience. 

 

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As an aside, who remembers in the 80's his column in B&S......"Ranking With Rodigan" I think it was?  From the timeline presented on the programme he would have been in his infancy back then music wise (well, in terms of his popularity/influence, I realise he was into it all well before then!), though I'm not sure when his column first appeared.

I wonder if our mate Chalky could fine one out of his Echoes collection and reproduce here and maybe we can find out when his first column appeared?

 

Cheers,

Mark R

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couldn’t resist putting this up, more on the Lovers Rock tip but killer Rodigan tune, Dub version at the end was something special. 

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Just watched it on iPlayer. What a guy! I'd never heard of him myself and found it fascinating, so passionate about the music and really interesting to see how he's continued to be interested in how reggae has developed and its impact on other areas of music too. I loved his pleasure in that early meeting with Bob Marley after the gig in a pub and how chuffed he was about the wave from the back of the taxi. 

Couple of new items on the Amazon wishlist now.

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One of the best music documentaries I’ve ever seen, I didn’t know of David Rodigan either, but what a guy! An inspiration to us all, wonderful man.

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You have to see the guy in action to believe it really.  To watch an ageing white guy hold a huge room/audience of mostly black people in the palm of his hand is quite astonishing and frankly, heart-warming.  An amazing man who commands huge respect and is deserving of his MBE for services to broadcasting, which I would imagine could have equally been awarded for services to the community.

 

Cheers,

Mark R

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