DJ DEREK from BRISTOL AND THE SOUND OF HIS TIME

Every single one of us aspires to do some­thing in life, or, to the least, is wait­ing for some­thing to hap­pen. For those that are born with an artistic side this all ordeal is of sig­ni­fic­ant import­ance; ideas, pro­jects, ups and downs, unfore­seen con­sequences and sur­prises. It makes me freeze in awe when I think about that par­tic­u­lar stage in one’s life when exper­i­ence starts to stand up for itself and age becomes a mean­ing­ful found­a­tion for all the things you do; opens a new per­spect­ive. Certain people, which oth­ers name as legends, attract mass audi­ences – inspir­ing ordin­ary folks to write, sing, make movies about them and read their inter­views, as if it was their own type and source of education.

It’s easy to see why such people attract so much atten­tion. Sadly, only few of us man­age to live life the way we want it, even fewer under­stand what it is that they actu­ally want to do. In the end, how many of us, in our late six­ties, would have the cour­age to claim they still feel the vibe, under­stand the trends or are a part of it all. DJ Derek is exactly the man that few are able to be – still hip, still wel­come in the music scene, always sur­roun­ded by his young fol­low­ers he works dur­ing the best hours of the day – 9 pm to 5 am.

The book club, Shoreditch
The book club, Shoreditch

If it wouldn’t have been for the unex­pec­ted visit to “The Book Club” in London, I would have missed the oppor­tun­ity to meet DJ Derek and his charm­ing per­son­al­ity. Shoreditch, where the club is loc­ated, is an area of London that was fam­ous for its low rent apart­ments and work­shops filled with unique artists; it still is a pop­u­lar place to visit for those inter­ested in street art and activ­it­ies of this sort. As of now it has become the home of large scale nightclubs and a party place for the fash­ion­able youth. I would not go as far to say it has become bor­ing, but it seems that the past atmo­sphere of edgy counter cul­ture has been replaced by a more com­mer­cial “hip­ster” one. Anyway, I was left sat­is­fied with the event held at “The Book Club” and lux­uri­ated in the oppor­tun­ity to hear the sounds of DJ Derek.

DJ Derek kick star­ted his career back in 1960’s, influ­enced by the wave of immig­rants from Jamaica to Great Britain after the second World War­. Once he got famil­iar with the sounds of the newly settled cul­ture, Derek slowly star­ted to get in touch with the music him­self. It was a chal­lenge to blend into the com­munity that was solely com­posed of Black Caribbean people, but it was his per­suas­ive­ness, con­stant interest in their cul­ture, com­mu­nic­a­tion and par­ti­cip­a­tion in numer­ous events that even­tu­ally allowed him to become acknow­ledged as an artist among all races.

Documentics, part one
Documentics, part two

You could learn more inter­est­ing facts about life of DJ Derek by watch­ing the doc­u­ment­ar­ies. From my side, I am fin­ish­ing my short present­a­tion with a reflec­tion on this person’s char­ac­ter­istic within the music scene.

Personally, it was his cha­risma that struck a chord for me. DJ’s per­son­al­ity and per­sonal appeal always play a huge part in their artistic lives. His simplistic per­form­ances are beau­ti­fully accom­pan­ied by his voice, breaks within songs, jokes and obser­va­tions. I can con­firm that young people are inter­ested in him and admire him, they approach him for a chat and take pho­tos of him. Above all, his choice of sound – that old vibe, rever­ber­at­ing from the times our par­ents and grand­par­ents used to live in, when juggled with his hands becomes elev­ated to a whole new level. During his shows it’s hard not to be moved by the images of his own time that flow from his music; the sound and the cul­ture all come alive.

Being intro­duced to such people and see­ing them do what they live for instills an ever­last­ing impres­sion, which becomes a source of inspir­a­tion itself. I hope this par­tic­u­lar story about the man will inspire you, like it inspired me.

Translated by Klaidas Stasiūnas

Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
About author:
Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
Gintare Zitkeviciute is Art Pit’s thinker and doer. In her work practise, she values lean approach, creativity and quick decisions. She doesn't like working with random people and thinks that a team is a heart of successful project. For that reason, she carefully picks people she works with on everyday basis. She is mostly interested in innovatio... Read further >
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