Saturday, October 14th, 2023 on BBC Two Wales at 9:30pm
Something special is happening right now. A thriving Welsh black music scene is making waves across the UK and beyond. In this new documentary, Black Music Wales, Newport singer, rapper and producer L E M F R E C K is looking at some of the young Welsh artists who created this movement. He will also discover the rich forgotten history of black Welsh music, including pioneers who paved the way for today.
For the first time, it feels like black Welsh music is having its moment – but why has it taken so long? L E M F R E C K is keen to find out. He meets up with rapper Juice Menace, from Cardiff, who feels there have not always been enough opportunities in Wales to get music off the ground, which resulted in her moving to London at age 19, before returning home a few years later. She has since recorded her debut EP ‘029’ – referencing the local area code – and recorded the official song for the Wales women’s football team.
Benji Webbe, from Newport, is best known as the enigmatic frontman with “Ragga Metal” band Skindred, who recently topped the UK Rock and Metal Album charts. He discusses growing up in the more ethnically diverse area of Pillgwenlly and starting out as a reggae singer with the Conqueror Sound System, where he learnt his stage craft.
L E M F R E C K also discovers, that even when a black Welsh musician does hit the big time, their achievements often go under the radar in Wales. As a member of Technotronic, Eric Martin (also known as MC Eric) provided lead vocals to the 1990 hit ‘The Beat Is Technotronic’. However, he opens up about the difficulty he had in gaining recognition in Wales, having to move to London and spending time living on the streets.
Featuring additional interviews with some of the Welsh artists making waves, including Cardiff artist Mace The Great, rapper Sage Todz and BBC Radio Wales presenter and singer Aleighcia Scott, the documentary takes a contemporary look at black music in Wales – from the diverse sounds that arrived via Tiger Bay in the late 1800s to the music being made today.