Caribbean Tales Gala offers insight to Black British Music Culture – “The Story of Lovers Rock” Sept. 5

by Darling Nicky

Gala offers insight to Black British Music Culture

The Story of Lovers Rock to open Caribbean Tales Toronto Showcase

TORONTO – The 7th CaribbeanTales Toronto Showcase opens on Wednesday September 5, 2012, with a Gala Launch and the Canadian Premiere of the internationally celebrated Black British music documentary, The Story of Lover’s Rock.

The event kicks off with a reception at Harbourfront’s Lakeshore Terrace, sponsored by the Toronto Consulate of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, and featuring a live performance by Kobo Town a young “ole time kaiso” band led by Trinidadian Drew Gonzalez.

The Story of Lover’s Rock has already screened to sold out audiences in Great Britain, as well as to full houses at New York’s African Diaspora International Film Festival, the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, and earlier this year at the 3rd annual CaribbeanTales in Barbados.

The film’s director, Barbadian-born Menelik Shabazz, was raised in London and began his filmmaking career during the tumultous 70’s. His break-through first feature, “Burning An Illusion”, now a classic of Black British cinema, traces the political awakening of a young Jamaican woman in the racially charged environment of Britain at the time.

During the 90’s and 2000’s Shabazz founded and led an innovative glossy magazine and E-newzletter project profiling Black World cinema, called Black Filmmaker Magazine. He also founded and ran the BFM Film Festival for 8 years.

The Story of Lover’s Rock marks his return to filmmaking after a long hiatus.The film traces the evolution of a new genre of reggae music in the 1970’s, created by West Indian immigrants in the British capital. It is about a generation  – the first to be raised and schooled in Britain –  coming to voice, and creating a vibrant sub-culture within, even as it struggled to come to grips with an increasingly oppressive and aggressive “mainstream” culture without.

Much like Motown before it, “Lover’s Rock” began as a small record label before its sound blossomed into the wider public’s consciousness as a genre unto itself. For years Lover’s Rock was played exclusively at London house parties by Jamaican immigrants who, according to Slant magazine reviewer Chuck Bowen, “were often banned from pubs”.

As with most things West Indian, the new music was a fusion of elements: reggae bass lines provided the foundation for the soulful melodies which soared above, usually punctuated by sultry female vocals .

Coordinator, Courtney Panchan
P:  416.498.1410

Media Contact : 404 Media Group
Roger Dundas –  416.918.9045


“We were the first generation from the Caribbean who’d gone to school here….Lover’s Rock was like an escape for us. It was almost a coping mechanism.”

Burning An Illusion: A Classic of World Cinema

A short tribute for BURNING AN ILLUSION, winner of The Classic Movie Award in its 30th anniversary year at the 7th Annual SCREEN NATION AWARDS 2011. Hosted by Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood and featuring all your favourite black stars from UK film and television. IndigO2 Sun 16th Oct.

Burning an Illusion [Sneak Preview]

Casie MacFarlane and Victor Romero deliver astounding performaces in this 1981 classic film BURNING AN ILLUSION by Menelik Shabazz. The film documents the riots and unrest of 70’s Britain and tells the story of a young woman who  comes of age politically in the tumultus climate of the times.

Kobo Town: Ole Time Kaiso

Kobo Town is a Toronto-based group whose music draws its inspiration from traditional calypso, roots reggae and dub poetry. Named after the vibrant and turbulent neighbourhood in old Port-of-Spain where Calypso was born, the group strives to recover the social conscience, satirical storytelling and strong acoustic/organic rhythms that characterized Trinidadian music in the past.

Founded by bandleader Drew Gonsalves,Kobo Town strives to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of their art by engaging the pressing concerns of our time. Domestic violence, the US war on Iraq, the paradoxes of globalization, the ongoing state of Caribbean dependency, and the bittersweet experience of immigration are all treated within their wide and varied repertory.Calypso is an art that developed in dialogue with other musical forms. The members of Kobo Town, who come to calypso from all over the musical map, hope to continue and extend this tradition of rhythmic and melodic cross-pollination.


CaribbeanTales is a group of companies that produces, markets and exhibits Caribbean-themed films for regional and international distribution, including:, a non profit based on Toronto, Canada, that promotes citizen participation through the medium of film, contributing to an inclusive Canadian society;  the CaribbeanTales Film Festival Group that produces annual events and festivals in Toronto, Barbados and New York;  the Caribbean Incubator Program for Audio Visual Entrepreneurs that delivers market-driven training for filmmakers, and CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, that links producers and buyers of quality entertainment.

Coming in 2013: CaribbeanTales-TV, a Netflix style online portal aimed at Caribbean film enthusiasts.

The CaribbeanTales Toronto Showcase and Incubator is co-produced with the Harbourfront Center and this year takes place between Sept 4th – 15th 2012, with activities and screenings aimed at family, youth and the celluloid industry.