Feel the Chant: The Brit Funk Story
- United Kingdom
More informationIn the seventies and early eighties, Jazz Funk music swept the UK's dance floors and clubs. This new musical sound emerged from the shadows of disco and had a fascinating impact in Britain.
The scene developed from the Home Counties, principally Essex, along with clubs such as Crackers in London. In the South DJ Chris Hill and his Funk Mafia led the way, and in the North Colin Curtis, among others, were instrumental in its popularity.
In this documentary, vocalist and presenter David Grant, who was part of the UK soul outfit Linx, revisits this unique era in British music which saw artists experimenting with a fusion of jazz, funk, urban dance rhythm and pop hooks.
He reveals the origins of the phrase 'Brit-Funk' and how the pioneers of this sound, groups Hi Tension and Light of the World, presented their music with a British twist to their instrumentation and vocals.
The Jazz funk scene was a British movement, a club culture unique to these shores with no equivalent in the States. As the music became popular, more and more British 12" singles started to appear with a craze for white-labels.
Grant acknowledges that Brit Funk, although considered in some quarters as a pale imitation of US Jazz Funk, was nonetheless ours - and heralded a new dawn in dance music. The term evolved from the club DJs - legendary names such as Chris Hill, and James Hamilton of Record Mirror whose column had a major influence in launching new records.
With support from the club disc jockeys and labels such as Ensign and Elite, artists including Light of the World, Level 42, Shakatak and Freeez enjoyed chart success and made regular appearances on Top of the Pops alongside the new romantics and punk groups of this period. With club DJs gaining cult status, the scene also created many 'club hits' which, although they never achieved commercial success, are still remembered with great affection today and discussed on music forum websites and uploaded to Youtube.
Many British based soul and dance bands found themselves merging under th