Jabulani Ngozi of the Black Roots and author Richard King reflect on how a radical spirit of resistance in the 1980s shaped the city’s unique music culture.
“When we started in 1979, we were all young kids, just leave school, lack of opportunities to get ahead in the industrial world, work and all that – unemployed,” explains Jabulani Ngozi, a founding member of the influential Bristol reggae band Black Roots. “We were just hanging around, and there was nothing much to do. And a couple of us decide, say ‘Well, mercy, we try do something for ourselves.’”
Bristol’s underground scene has long been instrumental in driving British music forward, from reggae and dub to late ‘70s post-punk, through to the import of hip hop and development of trip hop in the ‘90s, on to jungle, drum & bass, dubstep and today’s thriving bass music scene.