As Reggae Roots continues rehearsals, Natasha Cowie caught up with Annette Morris for the inside story of how the UK's first Reggae Youth Choir is forging ahead. 

Where did you start?

On week one, we went through the story of reggae and showed some of the history of how reggae music started, the genres and how the songs came about. First we learnt some chants, known as spirituals, and some songs that would've been sung in church. We selected the reggae songs that we know that have a really strong message of equality, diversity, peace and love. So they'll be five songs in total, and we hope to have the lyrics available for those watching to join in. 

Who's involved?

We've had a number of young people get involved from the ages 8 to 19, a wide range of ages. The great thing is that everyone's working well together, so it's a really positive vibe and good energy in the room. The young people that are coming now and the musicians that are here, really want to be able to utilise all their talents and skills. So we want to make sure they have a chance to both play and sing, giving everyone a chance to express themselves and add their unique contribution to the performance. 

What it been like working with this group of young people? 

It's been brilliant, it's been really good. The group really want to try new things, so it's been great to introduce them to some of the reggae genres. The way that we're going to adapt the songs they've chosen into a reggae style is something we're going to be working on with the musicians and it'll come together as the performance develops. 

It's a fantastic team of people. They don't want to leave once they've started singing, it's a really positive atmosphere. It's great that people of this age are gaining knowledge and experience of reggae, as it helps expose reggae to a new generation. 

When's the finale?  

It's important to have an aim, a goal for people to work towards. One of the things encouraging participants is the chance to perform, and they're putting their heart into ensuring they're at the best for the final performances. We're working towards and preparing to perform at the closing event of The World Reimagined on Thursday 17th November. Keep an eye out for more details closer to the date, you won't want to miss this!

About Reggae Roots 

Led by GCF Creative Associate Sheila Howarth, young people will bring their own song ideas and requests, while working with Annette Judah Morris with support from GCF Creative Associate Stella Litras to compose original music.

Reggae Roots will be artistically led by Sheila and inspired by the 9 themes of the Journey of Discovery with The World Reimagined.

Reggae Roots is the UK's first Reggae Youth Choir, with rehearsals taking place every Saturday

You can sign up to join the choir here!

Original concept and artistically led by Sheila Howarth

Music Supervision – Annette Judah Morris with support from Christella Litras

Choir Masters – Annette Judah Morris with support from Paulette Morris, Leroy Johnson, Cleve Freckleton

Delivered in partnership with The World Reimagined and Music House