UK artists rediscover the roots of
their music in Africa and the Caribbean with this new film project
All aboard for Homelands - the record of four UK-based artists’ journeys back to their ancestral homes to explore the origins of their culture and creativity. Conceptualised by music agency Punch, Mercury award nominee Terri Walker went to Jamaica, grime MC Saskilla to Senegal, MOBO-winning R&B singer Shakka to Dominica and producer Diztortion to Suriname. The results now form a year-long programme of performances and film screenings documenting each artist’s heartfelt story, kicking off with events this week in Birmingham and London.
“I can taste the passion fruit in the air and I can smell the barbeque chicken,” enthuses Shakka as he shakes his feathers at the Dominica carnival. “The sound systems are raging, everyone is dancing and I realise how related to it I am, how un-foreign it feels to me. I almost feel like I’m stepping on sacred ground.” Saskilla has a similarly self-affirming time in Dakar: “I’m overjoyed to be back in the motherland right now,” he enthuses to camera. “The whole family environment reminds me of what we’re grinding for back in England… I’m trying to get down with the truth.”
Between them they travelled over 50,000km but the real distance is felt in their sound as they delve into the lifestyle and energy of the people, work with local artists and create new music as a response to these experiences. It’s time to hear, feel and see the sunshine.
Homelands is at the Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham, on 18 October and at the BFI, London on 19 October