Read Beth Lesser’s fascinating account of the roots of Dancehall

Pioneering photographer and reporter offers a free download of her tuff tome to celebrate Jamaica's 50th birthday.


Words by: Anthony Walker

Beth Lesser, the Canadian reggae fan who visited Jamaica in the early 1980s and stumbled onto something amazing, is vital to the appreciation of dancehall culture worldwide. Accompanied by her partner David Kingston, Lesser embraced the scene by making links with artists and documenting her journey throughout the island.

Lesser and Kingston’s ‘Reggae Quarterly’ magazine covered both older dub and reggae and burgeoning dancehall music throughout the 1980s and its exclusive photographs and features are still lauded. Lesser has already written about the legendary producers King Jammy and Sugar Minott and produced a definitive photo guide for Soul Jazz Records but, in view of the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence this year, has offered a free download of her latest book.

‘Rub a Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall’ is a genealogy of the genre going as far back as the beginning of the sound system culture at the turn of the century through to the popular rise of dancehall in the 1980s through to now. Featuring interviews and a wealth of first-hand experience it covers the pioneers and big players of the scene as well as the fans, technicians and even politicians who helped to shape dancehall today. Colloquial, colourful and authoritative, the book is a must-read for fans or anyone interested in the fast-moving and nebulous sound.

You can access the entirety of ‘Rub a Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall’ as a PDF file and get details for an upcoming physical release on Beth Lesser’s official website.