‘TURN YOUR LIGHTS DOWN LOW: The Story of Lover’s Rock’ [Review]

By Jasmin Tiggett

CINEMATIQ Magazine Review: TURN THE LIGHTS DOWN LOW: The Story of Lover's Rock


UK Release Date: September 30, 2011

Genre: Doc. | Duration:  ‎96 mins | Color, English

Cast: Janet Kay, Maxi Priest, and members of UB40

Director: Menelik Shabazz


Menelik Shabazz’s The Story of Lover’s Rock explains the origins of a music made specifically for dancing in the dark. Developed in London in the late 1970s, the soulful genre of reggae called lover’s rock earned its popularity at house parties where young people would slow dance close together, developing a style known as rubbing or scrubbing.” Every artist and fan that lived through this time seems to have escaped with a story, and Shabazz takes care to share many of them with us.

Through a blend of interviews, concert footage, archival material, and improvised sketches, the documentary becomes a crash course in the genre and its origins, as well as the hostile racial climate in which it was born. The voices of popular producers and artists including Janet Kay, Maxi Priest, and members of UB40 guide our story, separated by comedy sketches where players chat with each other or the camera, schooling us in the proper way to dance to the music.

Above all, the film is a trip down memory lane for fans of lover’s rock, and those unfamiliar with the genre or its star performers may get lost in the shuffle. Still, it’s a story worth telling, particularly as its artists were largely shut out of the mainstream music industry and received relatively little radio airplay. Shabazz revives the tale of how they created an original sound and an independent industry, and his enthusiasm for the subject is both undeniable and admirable.

The Story of Lover’s Rock enjoys a brief run at the Quad Cinema as part of the New York African Diaspora International Film Festival, which continues through December 13th. www.nyadff.org


Jasmin Tiggett is a writer, filmmaker, and film curator based in New York.


Watch the trailer

Read more reviews


Click here to read more reviews so that you may order either a subscription or individual issue of our back issues. Winter 2012 issue will be available for purchase December 2012.Copyright © 2012 by CINEMATIQ Magazine/ BROWN-ROSS Publishing, a wholly company of Our Stories Productions, LLC.

Email for permission to republish this article.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s