First aired on Channel 4, Deep Roots features footage of Dennis Brown, the Mighty Diamonds, Mikey Dread and others.
In November 1982, a just-launched British TV station called Channel 4 aired the first part of a six-episode series on the birth and rise of Rastafarianism, reggae and dub culture in Kingston called “Deep Roots.”
An astounding document of a fertile time, the series, writes the British University’s Film and Video Council, explored “the origins of Reggae in the music and dance of early Jamaican slaves, and the isolationist Maroon culture that maintained many African traditions intact in the face of colonialism. It examines the upsurge in Black consciousness that grew from the teachings of Marcus Garvey and found expression after Jamaican independence in the Rastafarian religion and Reggae music.”
The series includes footage of Lee “Scratch” Perry, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Mikey Dread, the Mighty Diamonds, Dennis Brown and many others. The third program ever to be aired on Channel 4, it’s a crucial time capsule of an era.
Unfortunately, as of now only four of the six episodes are on YouTube. Here they are below. Get your notepads ready, because there’s tons of music to explore.
Synopses provided by the Film and Video Council.
Rebellion (mislabeled as Revival above) … “traces the history of Jamaican music from the transported slaves, through the religious cult groups of Jamaica to the birth of Reggae. It also looks at the current (1982) music industry in Kingston (Jamaica) and the history of sound systems and their “toaster” DJ’s.
Money in My Pocket … “explores the marketing of Reggae and the growing commercial awareness of the Reggae-music makers.”
Ghetto Riddims … “goes inside the slums and ghettos of Kingston (Jamaica) to see how Reggae music inspires the youth and gives hope to its poorest inhabitants.”
The Bunny Lee Story … “focuses on one man, Bunny Lee, famously described as the Al Capone of the Reggae business – also known as the Hit Man due to the numerous Reggae hits he has produced.”