New Documentary Focuses on Chinese-Jamaican Influence in Reggae
Generoso Fierro is a collector, radio producer/dj (he’s been doing Generoso’s Bovine Ska and Rocksteady on WMBR, 88.1FM since 1996!) and film-maker having made two previous documentaries. His first project was on Derrick Morgan but has not been released yet due to issues with music and his second the documentary on Lyn Taitt: Rocksteady was released in 2007.
His current project Always Together: Chinese-Jamaicans in Reggae brings the focus on the very important and overlooked contributions of Chinese-Jamaicans on the the music of Jamaica. It was released last year but I didn’t hear much about it at the time to be honest.
I talked to Gen and he said the doc was finished and he started submitting to festivals last year.
He also added this about the making of the film
Over the last three years, I was joined by my associate producer, Christina Xu and my editor Garrett Beazley on this effort to tell the never before told story of the Chinese-Jamaican contribution to Jamaican music. We follow their journey from 19th century indentured servants through their years as shop owners and producers in early Jamaican music to where they are today.
We interviewed some true giants of Jamaican music, the great Mento producer Ivan Chin (who lovingly made Christina and I a killer pepper chicken when we visited him and his wife in Canada) to brilliant session musicians like Mikey Chung in his new recording studio in Kingston, Soul Syndicate guitarist Tony Chin and famed bassist Phil Chen who both reside in Los Angeles, to Super Dups and Walshy Fire of Black Chiney who met up with us in Miami. The experience of meeting these artists will live with me forever.
Check out the trailer below.
Here is a synopsis of the film from the website:
From pioneer soundsystem operator Tom ‘The Great Sebastian’ Wong in the 1940s to contemporary dancehall masters Black Chiney, Chinese-Jamaicans have played an integral part in the music scene on the island since even before Jamaica cut its first domestic record in the 1950s.
The stories of Leslie Kong, the first producer to record Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Desmond Dekker; Byron Lee, the bandleader that became Jamaica’s ambassador to the world; and Patricia Chin, co-founder of VP Records are important but often overlooked pieces of reggae history. Through extensive original interviews and archival footage, Always Together: Chinese-Jamaicans in Reggae Music weaves together the history of the Chinese immigrants with the little-known stories of these unsung giants.
Follow updates on the film on the official Facebook page.
Looking forward to seeing this when it’s available.