New printing – with new introduction by Duro Olowu – of this definitive study and essential guide to Jamaican Dancehall in the 1980s featuring hundreds of exclusive photographs with accompanying text, interviews and biographies.
‘Lesser’s book is a vibrant anthology of all that mattered; the soundsystems, singers, producers, singers and deejays’ The Guardian
‘This superb book of Beth Lesser’s photographs, supplemented by her emphatic text and wonderful candid interviews with many of the main players gives us a unique view straight to the heart of dancehall reggae.’ – Steve Barrow, author of The Rough Trade Guide to Reggae
‘This book features Dancehall and all its luminaries, with a back-drop of bass bins, heat-hazed colour and excellent knitwear, plus interviews, biographies and diversions into the music’s development.’ – MOJO
This book captures a previously unseen era of musical culture fashion and lifestyle. With unprecedented access to the incredibly vibrant music scene during this period, Beth Lesser’s photographs are a unique way into a previously hidden part of Jamaican culture. Dancehall is at the centre of Jamaican musical and cultural life. From its roots in Kingston in the 1950s to its heyday in the 1980s, Dancehall has conquered the globe also spreading to the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Europe and beyond.
Dancehall is a culture that encompasses music, fashion, drugs, guns, art, community, technology, and more. Many of today’s music and fashion styles can be traced back to Dancehall culture and continue to be influenced by it today.
Born in the 1950s out of the neighbourhood soundsystems of Kingston, Dancehall grew to its height in the 1980s before a massive influx of drugs and guns made the scene too dangerous for many.
Dancehall is an essential reference book for anyone interested in Reggae, as well as a unique photographic and textual source book of the musical, cultural and political life of Jamaica.
In the early 1980s as Jamaica was in the throws of political and gang violence Beth Lesser ventured where few other dared and this book is never before seen record of the exciting, dangerous and vibrant world of Dancehall. Beth Lesser’s book tells this story from its roots to its heights. Living in Jamaica in the late 70s and early 80s she photographed and documented a cultural explosion as producers, singers, DJs and soundsystems who all made a living out of the slums of Kingston.