A camera sweeps across the verdant, shimmering beauty of Jamaica before descending on to a raffishly charming wooden house built into the hills. We’re at a music studio where four of the pioneers who gave birth to reggae are congregated to record a new album.
‘It’s tranquil, a real feeling of nature, just birds, trees and the wind,’ says 71-year-old Ken Boothe, whose seductive voice is smooth as rum, just as it was in 1974 when ‘Everything I Own’ stormed the British charts.
Boothe is one of the stars of a beguiling new documentary, Inna De Yard, about the rise and fall of roots reggae, which reached its peak in the late 1970s with Bob Marley’s ‘conscious’ lyric-writing and is now witnessing a revival.
What made the music so distinctive were two key elements: earnest harmonies, especially of the Rastafarian reggae singers, underpinned by the characteristic ‘one drop’ of the rhythm guitar and bass drum.