Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes

Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes

“A perfectly paced tale of world-shaking basslines and human frailty. The inside story of the evolution of reggae and the family that helped facilitate.” The ArstDesk

Everyone’s heard of Bob Marley, and reggae is now one of the biggest influences in world music. Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes shows how it all began in a tiny recording studio where a little-known, Chinese immigrant family forged the reggae sound. Vincent “Randy” Chin and his family distributed and sold the very first authentic reggae 45’s between the early 1960’s and late 1970’s to an eager, newly independent Jamaica. They established a record shop and recording studio at 17 North Parade in Kingston, frequented by many of the greatest acts in reggae history. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Alton Ellis, Lord Creator, John Holt, Black Uhuru, Jimmy London, Count Machuki, U-Roy, the Skatalites and Jonny Nash, were just a few of the iconic artists who recorded in the studio on the first floor, whilst freshly pressed vinyl 45’s were sold at Randy’s Records on the ground floor.

In the late ‘70s, political turmoil in Jamaica prompted the Chins to leave for New York, abandoning the studio and record shop. They successfully founded VP Records, now the world’s largest independent Reggae label.  When the Chin family left for New York, some 2000 original session tapes were left behind at Studio 17. It was believed they were all lost in the flooding and looting that followed Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 that left the studio unusable. Incredibly, the tapes survived in a locked upstairs room.

 

Fifty years after those historic sessions, the tapes have been saved and transported to a studio in New York where Clive Chin is supervising restoration. We follow Clive as he travels to Jamaica’s GeeJam Studios to work with famed artist and producer Dave Stewart and new rising star, Hollie Stephenson, aged just 16. Contributing artists, producers, musicians and reggae experts reveal stories and illuminating comments about the music, the personalities and their influences.

Screening Dates
Coming Soon!

Screening Dates
Coming Soon!