London UK; Director Steve McQueen has teamed up with Motown Records UK for the official soundtrack to the landmark five-film anthology Small Axe.
Personally curated and selected by Steve McQueen, The Small Axe Official Soundtrack, featuring original score by award-winning composer Mica Levi, will be released on Record Store Day, Saturday 12 June.
Steve McQueen: “Music is an integral part of Small Axe, especially Lovers Rock. Selecting the songs was definitely one of the most fun parts of making the anthology series, so I’m really excited about the soundtrack release, especially the legendary tracks “Silly Games” and “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” performed by the brilliant Tiana Major 9 and Michael Kiwanuka.”
Mica Levi: “I am proud and thankful to be part of the music used in Steve McQueen’s telling of a too unknown true story. It goes to show that protest is an essential democratic right it can change legislation and create visibility and equality.
The Small Axe Official Soundtrack encompasses a potent combination of original tracks, film score excerpts, music featured in the series and four powerful spoken word pieces written by the renowned poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and performed by himself alongside cast members Sheyi Cole, Rochenda Sandall and Shaun Parkes. Exclusive tracks include a rendition of “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” by Michael Kiwanuka and a rework of Janet Kay’s classic “Silly Games” by R&B songstress and Motown US artist, Tiana Major9.
Tiana Major9: ‘Silly Games by Janet Kay played a huge part in changing a generation by pushing the culture forward, as well as making the dream of creating timeless Black British Art a reality. To see the stories based on the lives of my people on a global scale, means so much to me.”
The original of “Silly Games” by Janet Kay also features on the soundtrack alongside the likes of “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye, “Pressure Drop” by Toots & The Maytals and “More Warning” by King Tubby, Augustus Pablo & The Aggrovators.
The Small Axe Official Soundtrack will be accompanied by a limited edition vinyl release with artwork direction by phenomenal creative collective; Mabdulle, Tara Ung and Wwwesh Studio
Nominated in a record 15 categories at the TV Bafta Awards on the 6 June 2021, the Small Axe anthology series comprises five original films by Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years A Slave, Widows). Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will, despite rampant racism and discrimination. Even though this collection of films is set some decades ago, the stories are as vital and timely today as they were for the West Indian community in London at the time. Small Axe is a celebration of Black joy, beauty, love, friendship, family, music and even food; each one, in its own unique way, conveys hard-won successes, bringing hope and optimism.
The music featured on the official soundtrack is integral to the DNA of these stories, both enhancing the narrative and paying homage to the musical and cultural heritage of the times documented in the series. The Small Axe Official Soundtrack, released by Motown Records UK on 12 June, is now available to pre-order https://smallaxe.lnk.to/PreOrder