AFTER 40 years of championing some of the greatest musicians in reggae and dancehall, VP Records has announced a celebratory exhibition to showcase their defining role in bringing reggae and dancehall to the international mainstream.
From humble beginnings as a small record store in Kingston, Jamaica to an international powerhouse of reggae and dancehall in Jamaica, New York, the exhibition will chronicle the past 40 years of VP’s history through a ten-piece visual display and two evenings of panel discussions on the impact of Caribbean music in the UK.
Running October 29 through to November 1, the exhibition will feature spotlights on Greensleeves Records — which VP acquired in 2008 — and reggae legend Dennis Brown. It will also detail the development of the label’s pioneering compilation series, Reggae Gold, Soca Gold and Strictly the Best.
Meanwhile, the panel discussions will focus on the defining role of Caribbean music in the UK, its place in the streaming era, and tips on how to succeed as an upcoming artist.
On October 29, Steel Pulse member and principal investigator of the Bass Culture Research Unit, Mykaell, Ryley will moderate a panel on the importance of reggae and dancehall to the UK music scene, featuring Rockers LDN promoter and NTS DJ Bigs as well as Director of Catalogue Development at VP, Carter Van Pelt. The following day, music industry expert Paulette Long will lead a discussion featuring President of VP Records Randy Chin, Radio 1Xtra DJ Seani B and UK Head of Digital at distributor ADA Laura Moat on Caribbean music in the streaming era.
Commenting on the exhibition, Carter van Pelt said: “With “A Reggae Music Journey” and with the box set “Down In Jamaica”, I wanted to put the arc of the VP Records story into perspective, through music and visuals. I hope people gain a new appreciation for how central the Chin family has been to the industry, not just for the 40+ years of VP Records, but for the 60+ years of Randy’s. They have stood the test of time and have an incomparable legacy in the story of Jamaican music.”
As part of the 40th-anniversary celebrations, VP is releasing a commemorative box set to coincide with the exhibition, featuring 94 tracks from 101 VP and Greensleeves artists including Ini Kamoze, Yellowman, Johnny Osbourne, Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Shaggy, and others.
Due for release on November 1, the box set contains four 12” singles, four CDs, and four 7” singles, and a 24-page book, including the first reissues of some of the most collectable vinyl records in the VP catalogue such as Freddie McKay’s “Fire Is Burning,” Junior Reid’s “What Do You Know,” and Echo Minott’s “Saddest Day.”
About ‘A Reggae Music Journey’
Date: October 29 – November 1
Entry times: 11am – 5pm
Location: Jamaican High Commission. 1-2 Prince Consort Rd, Kensington, London, SW7 2BZ
Panels: Tuesday 29 October (5-8pm) — ‘The Impact of Reggae & Dancehall on the UK Music Scene’ with Mykaell Ryley (moderator), Bigs (Rockers LDN, NTS) and Carter van Pelt (Director of Catalogue Development, VP Records)
Wednesday 30 October (5-8pm) — ‘Reggae & Dancehall in the Digital Era’ with Paulette Long (moderator), Seani B (BBC Radio 1Xtra), Randy Chin (President, VP Records) and Laura Moat (UK Head of Digital, ADA)