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Black History Month: legendary reggae artist performs at Bristol University

University of Bristol welcomes the celebrated reggae artist Troy Ellis for a discussion on the origins of reggae music and an intimate performance.

Image courtesy of Milan Perera

By Milan Perera, Deputy Editor

As part of the Black History Month celebrations, the legendary reggae artist Troy Ellis was invited for an in-depth discussion on the origins of reggae music and an intimate performance at the Anson Rooms Bar on Saturday, October 7.

 The event was organised by the Black Students’ Network (BSN) among other events to mark Black History Month. The proceedings for the evening were led by Madu Ellis of Ujima Radio, who introduced Troy Ellis to the audience.

Both Madu Ellis and Troy Ellis discussed how reggae music originated from African music. According to them, the genre is characterised with a pronounced rhythm infused with poetry, that went on to convey messages of liberation, solidarity and joy to people. There were references to pioneers of the movement such as Alton Ellis, Troy Ellis’ own father and Bob Marley, the colossus of the genre.

Madu Ellis of Ujima Radio in conversation with Troy Ellis - Milan Perera

The discussion was followed by a lively Q&A session that dissected various lesser known aspects of reggae music.

 The highlight of the evening was the electrifying performance of Troy Ellis. With a name that echoes reggae royalty, Troy Ellis is determined to carry forward the tradition of his father, spreading the message of love, unity, and social consciousness through music.

Troy Ellis performing at the Anson Rooms Bar - Milan Perera

Troy Ellis, with his distinctive voice and magnetic stage presence, transported the audience to the heart of Jamaica, as he performed some of his father's classic hits and his own compositions. The performance was a testament to the enduring power of reggae music to unite people and inspire positive change.

Troy Ellis ‘jamming’ with students - Milan Perera

The consummate performer invited the students in attendance to come up to the stage and ‘co-create’ music with him. The evening also featured upcoming reggae artist from Gambia, Lixen Khan, who enthralled the audience with his lyrical dexterity.

The Gambian reggae artist Lixen Khan - Milan Perera

Speaking to Epigram, the Black Students’ Network said: ‘The primary goal of the Black Students' Network (BSN) is to give our Black Bristol students a robust sense of belonging and we feel that one of the ways we can achieve this is by celebrating Black talent in all forms. 

‘This is why it was amazing to have Troy Ellis, Lixen Khan and Ujima Radio with us last Saturday to teach us all about the rich origins of the charismatic reggae music genre within a panel event that included genuinely electrifying performances, truly educational segments and laughter. We are extremely proud to have been involved with this event and we are immensely thankful to everyone involved. There is more coming, so make sure to keep up to date with us.’

Featured image: Milan Perera

Will you be attending any Black History Month events this October?