07 March 2022
Solent Showcase, part of Solent University is delighted to be developing this project in partnership with Founder of Black History Month South Don John, GO! Southampton and The Marlands Shopping Centre. It recognises the talent of long-standing Southampton artist Slam who paints photo-realist murals worldwide and acknowledges the impact that Ebony Rockers has had on the city.
It recognises the talent of long-standing Southampton artist Slam who paints photo-realist murals worldwide and acknowledges the impact that Ebony Rockers has had on the city.
A public unveilling of the work will take place at 12pm on Saturday 12th March at Ogle Road, Above Bar Southampton
In 1979 Ebony Rockers burst onto the South’s music scene – bringing reggae out of the heart of inner-city Southampton. The late 70s and early 80s were politically and socially vibrant times for African-Caribbean youth across the country and it was against this background that eight teenagers from around the Newtown and Nicholson areas of Southampton began playing music – inspired by the reggae artists of the day and reflecting their own lives, conditions, and aspirations. The original members, in their late teens when they got together, consisted of – Duncan Carberry, George David, Ivan Dellimore, David Ellis (Eggy), Versell Gordon (Scratch), Rose Jones Bing Lewis and Neville Virgin – all living in the city’s close-knit African-Caribbean community.
The band were very successful right across the South and their legacy has been wide reaching. This includes influencing contemporary talent such as Craig David and rapper Tyrone Gordon who has recently signed to Sony’s label Relentless.
Don John, Race & Diversity Consultant states: “Ebony Rockers were an inspiration to local people in inner-city Southampton and gave the local Black communities something they could be proud of that reflected their culture”
Giles Semper, Executive Director at GO! Southampton, said: ‘I believe we’ve achieved the perfect combination of artist and subject for this mural. Slam is a world-famous street artist but has never painted in the city centre. Ebony Rockers is a seminal band in Southampton’s musical history. The mural will be a great example of the kind of thing that can enliven the city centre and bring more visitors when we win UK City of Culture 2025.’
Kate Maple, Curator of the Solent Showcase Gallery, comments: “In 2019 Solent Showcase co-created an exhibition with Don John, entitled Rebel Music which explored and celebrated the story of Africa-Caribbean music in the city of Southampton. The exhibition featured a large-scale image of local reggae band Ebony Rockers who were a fundamental of the city’s black music scene in the 1980s and included the father of international musician Craig David. The impact of that window display on the local community has led to the development of this more permanent mural which seeks to acknowledge the importance of this band to the city”
Tim Keeping, General Manager the Marlands said: the landlord of the Marland’s Shopping Centre was keen to support this exciting piece of public art as it helps reinforce the centre as very much being the heart of community shopping in Southampton. The Ebony Rockers deserve much more prominence in the history of contemporary music in Southampton and in this we are pleased to be able to play our part.