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Rodigan: My Life in Reggae

David Rodigan

8 Reviews

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Reggae, World music, Autobiography: arts & entertainment, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

The memoir of David Rodigan, the man who has taught the world about reggae.


'Rodigan can still claim a currency few presenters of his vintage can match. Perhaps it's because while his wider musical and professional milieu has been in constant change, his boundless enthusiasm has been constant. Reggae's been lucky to have him' Ian Harrison, MOJO

'Rodigan was a major part of my childhood, he played the hottest tunes and in a style that just resonated with me and millions like me. Being able to contribute anything to a man that filled my life with such joy is an honour, respect, David Rodigan' Ian Wright

'David is a pioneer in Reggae music. As a selector and radio personality, his vast knowledge of Jamaican music and its culture has helped to educate and fascinate music lovers around the world; he's an amazing son of the music, and an icon. We couldn't have made it this far without him' Shaggy

This is the unlikely story of David Rodigan: an Army sergeant's son from the English countryside who has become the man who has taught the world about Reggae. As the sound of Jamaica has morphed over five decades through a succession of different genres - from Ska and Rock Steady, to Dub, Roots and Dancehall - Rodigan has remained its constant champion, winning the respect of generation after generation of Reggae followers across the globe.

Today, at the age of 63, he is a headline performer at almost all the UK's big music festivals, as well as events across the world. Young people revere him and he is a leading presenter on the BBC's youth network 1Xtra as well as a regular fixture at leading nightclubs such as London's Fabric and at student unions throughout the land. And he continues to go into the heartlands of Reggae, to the downtown dancehalls of Kingston and Montego Bay in Jamaica to compete in tournaments against the greatest sound systems.

And yet, for all of this, David Rodigan is the antithesis of the stereotype of an international dance music DJ. 'I look like an accountant or a dentist,' he admitted to The Independent a decade ago. A man of impeccable manners, Rodigan prepares for a big sound clash by retiring to his hotel bed with a Thomas Hardy novel before taking a nap and then a cup of espresso before heading to the club.

Rodigan is the inside story of this apparent paradox. It tells how a boy from Kidlington has become an admired international ambassador for a music form that remains as proud as ever of its African roots, a sound that emanates from and fiercely represents the ghetto poor. He now reaches across the age groups, from teens through to those of his own vintage. At the pinnacle of his career, Rodigan has become the DJ for all generations.

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Praise for Rodigan: My Life in Reggae

  • In my lifetime, David Rodigan has been one of the most respected broadcasters and DJs in any music genre. He always will be. His passion and energy for the music are unparalleled

  • People use the word "legend" too lightly, but when it comes to this man, he's just a don gargan! Beyond legend - Goldie

  • Today the world has finally gotten to know that Sir David Rodigan is the very best at what he does. Not just playing the music, but loving it with a world of musical knowledge. We love you David, ride on ...

  • Rodigan's insatiable appetite for Reggae in all its guises and permutations has been a gift to Great Britain. Life without Rodigan would be unimaginable. He waged war against the marginalisation of Reggae and fought to infuse radio listeners with his own indefatigable passion. We are forever in his debt

  • When I think of Rodigan I immediately think - mum preparing the food, me doing the hoovering with the shake & vac, Rodigan in the background on the radio and me skanking to some riddim. The word legend is banded about far too often these days and often unwarranted, but for this man, it's the perfect way to sum him up. Thanks to YouTube these days you can now see how he went to Jamaica and clashed with various sound systems and coming out victorious 'nuff times. The utmost respect for a true icon, Mr David Rodigan

  • There a very few DJs who have made the sort of contribution to the music industry as David Rodigan. He invited me onto his Capital Radio show in the early 80s and he was as impressive in real life as his persona suggested. Rodigan has had a profound effect on generations of Reggae lovers and has taken the genre to the four corners of the globe. Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs et al sang the music we loved but we needed someone to make the connection between the artist, the music and the people and no one did that better than David Rodigan

  • As a teenager growing up, my weekend wasn't complete unless I listened to David Rodigan playing all the tunes I loved and still love today. Nuff respect due

  • An enjoyable history of Jamaican music in Britain - Uncut

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