Horace Ové photograph of Trinidad Carnival showing a reveller in an elaborate bird suit

Revisit Motherland

10 May 2020

Revisit the Get Up, Stand Up Now podcast series, a crafted sound odyssey over five episodes, guided by the voices of Black creative pioneers that featured in the exhibition with a creative contribution from spoken word artist Joshua Idehen. 

Last summer we celebrated the past 50 years of Black creativity in the UK in our exhibition Get Up, Stand Up Now.  Reflecting upon the notion of 'motherland,' listen to legendary musician Dennis Bovell, writer Margaret Busby, photographer Normski, and exhibition curator Zak Ové as they share their personal stories and discourse around the Black experience, activism, creativity and influence.


An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, sound engineer, composer and producer, Dennis Bovell has earned himself the reputation of Britain’s reggae maestro. He moved from Barbados to south London at the age of 12 and whilst still at school joined his first band, Road Works Ahead. He later formed the group Matumbi which went on to become Britain’s foremost reggae band, at a time when the genre was spreading from Jamaica to an international audience. 

Bovell also formed the Dub Band, beginning an enduring partnership with reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson which resulted in the production of numerous classic albums. The 1980s saw Bovell in great demand as a producer, working with bands as diverse as The Slits, Chalice, Orange Juice, The Thompson Twins and Bananarama. Bovell has also worked in television and film and continues to record, produce and play music live all over the world. 

Margaret Busby OBE, Hon. FRSL, was born in Ghana and educated in the UK. Graduating from London University, she became Britain’s youngest and first Black woman publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby in 1967, where she was editorial director for 20 years. Subsequently pursuing a career as editor, broadcaster and critic, she has contributed to many publications, written drama for radio and the stage, served as a judge for prestigious literary competitions, and campaigned for diversity in publishing since the 1980s. She compiled the ground-breaking international anthology Daughters of Africa (1992), and 2019’s follow-up, New Daughters of Africa (Myriad). 

Norman ‘Normski’ Anderson was bought his first camera by his Jamaican mother at an auction when he was nine years old. His interest in photography was partly inspired by Horace Ové, as he was childhood friends with Ové’s son Zak. Normski was part of the emerging hip hop music scene during the 1980s and his involvement in music culture led him to photograph hip hop artists and fashions for publications like The Face, i-D and Vogue. Normski harnesses his personal sensibilities to capture exquisite detail and memories that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. He also created publicity photographs for the musicians themselves. He has also worked as a DJ and television presenter.

Original music by Dennis Bovell and Gaika, with selected tracks from Trojan Records.
Stalag 17 - King Tubby and the Technique Allstars (Trojan Records)
After Tonight - Matumbi (Trojan Records)
The Shadow of Your Smile - Tommy McCook and the Super Sonics (Trojan Records)

Excerpt from Andrea Levy's Small Island 

Producer: Femi Oriogun-Williams

The series was produced by Reduced Listening and Somerset House