In the year 1978, the Reggae Klub was established in Dundee by the parents of London-based fashion designer Nicholas Daley. Scotland’s seminal club night ran for four more years, touring the country and cultivating a community in a political era rife with far-right extremism.
Daley’s parents had created something novel in Scotland, and the reggae beats, heavy bass and crackling vinyl that pounded across dimly lit dancefloors through the country sent a message to those waiting outside that this was a safe space for anyone with respect for the craft – and the people who came to hear it.
This spirit of collaboration, craft and culture also informs every stitch of Daley’s artistic pursuits. He weaves together his rich personal narrative with the often unheard stories that exist within wider Black British and diasporic commu- nities, that have helped shaped the styles – both musical and sartorial – of today.
This September, Nicholas will carry on his parents’ legacy by curating his own club night of sorts, Woven Rhythms, a one-day takeover at London’s landmark Southbank Centre. Bringing together artists he admires, old and new, Daley is “intertwining different soundscapes, but most importantly, creating generational conversations,” he says. “We have to respect the people who built the foundations for us to succeed.”
Across these pages we highlight six contemporary artists from the Woven Rhythms line-up who have carved out their own space in Britain’s concrete metropolis, contributing to the new sonic architecture framing the city. These musicians prove that creativity and community cannot be suppressed in any era, as they are held in place by the threads of experience and transcendence that connect us one to one.
In the early hours of Monday morning at Glastonbury 2023, Sherelle closed the celebrations at Worthy Farm to a reverberating crowd of thousands. But the Walthamstow-born DJ would rather perform as a part of the crowd than take centre stage. Setting out to create an even playing field for DJs and audiences, Sherelle wants to utilise the dancefloor’s potential for assembling shared experiences: “The main thing is to try and take people on a journey and leave them coming away having heard so many different sounds.” Blending uptempo jungle rhythms with fast-paced footwork, all at 160 bpm plus, Sherelle mixes the music she believes is representative of her identity. “Both genres are of Black origin and they were created by young people, using music as both a form of escapism and expression,” she says. Sherelle’s sets are inherently experiential, as she looks outwards to the crowd around her to make deeper, meaningful connections with those on the dancefloor.