Mento music is a fusion of African and European musical traditions that began in Jamaica in the 19th century. Although widely played throughout the island for many years, it wasn’t until the early 1950s that the first mento recording appeared on a 78 RPM disc. This decade was mento’s golden age, as a variety of artists recorded mento songs in an assortment of rhythms and styles. It was the peak of mento’s creativity and popularity in Jamaica and the birth of Jamaica’s recording industry.
Interviews include commentary from leading political, cultural and musical personalities. Musical performances include a panorama of existing mento bands from all across Jamaica, some of which have been playing continuously for 45 yrs.
Rick has been working in Film and Television between UK and Jamaica for 20 years, directing Feature films, Documentary’s, Commercials and Music Video’s.
What started out as a small documentary project in 2008 has developed into a seminal film on the roots and current place of Mento music in Jamaica. No film has been made wholly about the subject and it is a little known genre around the world.
Mento was the first national music of Jamaica and it begat Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae and the Dancehall music of today.
The timing of this film has been propitious, as most of the original artists have left us, and indeed, a number of those interviewed have already departed. The history is being told not only by musicologists, but also by the artists themselves, who have a stoic manner, yet infuse their music and lyrics with charm and humor.