DJ Derek: Hanging Up His Discs

17 Jul


It all started at the Star and Garter

He’s probably the oldest (male) touring DJ in the country and he’s about to call it a day at 72.
Derek Morris, aka DJ Derek (*1941) will be giving his last public appearance and playing his last set at the Musicport Festival this year. His blend of 60s rocksteady, reggae, ska, dancehall and soul has made him an icon for many in the industry, and his fans range from Jamaican music producers to Massive Attack.

Derek used to work as an accountant for Cadbury but gave it all up for the music. He kindled his love for music as a washboard player in the 1950s but also found an outlet at the Star and Garter pub in Bristol – where he would play his records to a largely Afro Caribbean audience. He’s played popular sets at many major festivals, including Glastonbury. He MCs in Jamaican patois while DJing – he just picked it up the accent from a Bristol based Jamaican barber, which helped him be accepted in the black music industry.

In 2006, He released the album DJ Derek Presents… Sweet Memory Sounds, a compilation of some of his favourite tunes and he’s also played cameo in Dizzie Rascals Dirtee Disco Video.

But no man is an island and were it for but the music alone who knows where Derek would be now. As his story largely started with a pint; Derek is well known for having visited every single Wetherspoons pub in the UK.

On April 27th 2012 Derek was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Medal for his outstanding work.

Derek we salute you – I can definitely say that you’re one of my heroes.

Musicport Festival Not To Be Missed

While the festival season this summer is well under way, showcasing all the mightiest of mighty pop-persons, who sing and gyrate upon many a stage throughout the land for a living. Musicport World Music Festival is probably just starting to pick up steam for this years annual indoor festival taking place 18th – 20th October. It’s the biggest event on the World Music calendar in England, which has been held each year in Whitby, North Yorkshire, GB since 2000 – apart from the diversion to Bridlington, North Yorks. between 2008 and 2011 when it was reported to have outgrown its birthplace; Whitby. The Festivals organiser Jim McLaughlin said: ‘the only reason it left was the financial problems caused by the former Quaker Meeting House Project which Scarborough Borough council planning committee and a self-serving town councillor between them managed to scupper’ (for anyone not from these parts; scupper: slang for ruin)

The festival returned to Whitby Pavilion for 2012, featuring Dub Colossus, Edward II, Reem Kelani, and Sona Jobarteh Band. Other acts that have appeared include Hugh Masekela, Kanda Bongo Man, The Buena Vista Social Club presents Caichaito Lopez etc., Misty In Roots, Rachid Taha, Mostar Sevdah Reunion, Ensemble Kabul, Courtney Pine, Mory Kante, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Vera Bila & Kale, Talvin Singh and many more.

This years line-up you can see here:

The Reverb Playlist for Derek (!the penultimate – Odetta, says it all)













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