The Highly Revered Reggae Raconteur presents an exclusive performance of his hugely influential poetry on the DJ Derek Stage.
We are totally psyched and honoured to be able to announce an exclusive live performance from the legend that is Linton Kwesi Johnson – yet another reason to get your tickets booked for this year’s Wilkswood Reggae Festival.
Linton Kwesi Johnson is a legendary reggae poet and social activist. Born in the Jamaican rural parish of Clarendon, he came to London in 1963, went to Tulse Hill secondary school and then studied Sociology at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. Whilst at school he joined the Black Panthers, helped to organise a poetry workshop within the movement and developed his work with Rasta Love, a group of poets and drummers. In 1977 he was awarded a C Day Lewis Fellowship, becoming the writer-in-residence for the London Borough of Lambeth for that year. He went on to work as the Library Resources and Education Officer at the Keskidee Centre, the first home of black theatre and art.
Johnson’s poems first appeared in the journal Race Today. In 1974 Race Today published his first poetry collection, Voices of the Living and the Dead. Johnson’s first album, Dread Beat An Blood was released in 1978, and since then he has released 14 more albums made with long-time collaborator and dub producer, Dennis Bovell. One of his best known poems, Inglan’ is a Bitch, was part of the self-titled 1980 collection and the album, Bass Culture. His seminal 1979 album Forces of Victory containing the stirring Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem) was one of David Bowie’s favourite albums no less. He has been running his own record label, LKJ Records, since 1981, bringing new artists to the attention of wider audiences. In 2002, Johnson became only the second living poet and the first black poet to have his work included in Penguin’s Modern Classics series, under the title Mi Revalueshanary Fren: Selected Poems.
Johnson has toured the world, and unsurprisingly, he is known and revered as the world’s first reggae poet. He is also a Trustee of the George Padmore Institute and the 198 Gallery, two London-based independent charities with a focus on the cultural and political contributions made by the UK’s populations of colour. His numerous awards include the Associate Fellow of Warwick University (1985); the Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica for ‘eminence in the field of poetry’ (2006); and the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry from the Society of Authors (2018).
“…the newest and most original poetic form to have emerged in the English language in the last quarter century.” Fred D’Aguiar, poet and novelist
“One of Britain’s most influential and original voices.” The Arts Council of England
“The name Linton Kwesi Johnson conjures up images of leadership, strong views and direction. He is the acknowledged head of the new wave of performance poets, whose words welded politics and social conscience with a potent challenge to those in power.” Sharon Atkin, The Caribbean Times, 1995
Main photo: Danny Dacosta.
More details of the Wilkswood Reggae 2020 line-up will be announced over the next few weeks. Keep up with latest news by following us on Facebook.
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