The soundtrack will be released on Record Store Day, June 12.
Released on BBC iPlayer last year, the five Small Axe films explore different aspects of life for West Indians in Britain in the 1970s and 80s. They include: Lovers Rock (pictured), a film about a blues party in London; Mangrove, about Notting Hill’s landmark Mangrove restaurant and the trial of the Mangrove Seven in 1971; and Education, about a young Black boy’s struggle to keep his head up in an education system determined to leave him behind.
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The films’ soundtrack has been personally curated by Steve McQueen and features an original score by Mica Levi, spoken word pieces by legendary dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, a rendition of ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ by Michael Kiwanuka and a rework of Janet Kay’s ‘Silly Games’, which featured memorably in Lovers Rock, by Tiana Major9.
It also features cast members Rochenda Sandall, Shaun Parkes and Sheyi Cole performing some of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s classic dub poems, as well as reggae classics like Toots & The Maytals’ ‘Pressure Drop’ and Prince Far I’s ‘Throw Away Your Gun’.
Steve McQueen has said, “Music is an integral part of Small Axe, especially Lovers Rock. Selecting the songs was definitely one of the most fun parts of making the anthology series, so I’m really excited about the soundtrack release.”
Similarly, Mica Levi commented, “I am proud and thankful to be part of the music used in Steve McQueen’s telling of a too unknown true story. It goes to show that protest is an essential democratic right, it can change legislation and create visibility and equality.”
Find the soundtrack’s tracklist below.
Mica Levi – Protest
Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop
Prince Far I – Throw Away Your Gun
Linton Kwesi Johnson – New Crass Massahkah
Sheyi Cole – Uprising
Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up
Tiana Major9 – Silly Games
Rochenda Sandall – Dread Beat An' Blood
Mica Levi – Old Bailey
Michael Kiwanuka – To Be Young, Gifted And Black
Imagination – So Good, So Right
Junior English – After Tonight
Mica Levi – In God You Must Trust
Shaun Parkes – Inglan Is A Bitch
Janet Kay – Silly Games (Lovers Rock Edit)
Jemima Skala is Mixmag’s Weekend Editor. Follow her on TwitterRead this next: The unsung Black women pioneers of house music