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Don Letts picks his top 10 Notting Hill Carnival tunes

UK punk legend and iconic dub and reggae DJ Don Letts charts his ultimate Notting Hill Carnival tracks ahead of the annual festivities this weekend

Don Letts is a true legend of UK punk. A filmmaker, musician and DJ, the London-born icon has stood at the helm of the country’s most vital scene for over four decades, as both a documentarian and participant.

Known for bringing dub and reggae sounds into the punk sphere during his peerless DJ sets at The Roxy and forming the post-punk outfit Big Audio Dynamite with The Clash’s Mick Jones, Letts’ influence cannot be understated.

As a child of the Windrush generation, whose father came to the UK from Jamaica after the Second World War, Letts has been acquainted with the social, political and cultural significance and joyous power of Notting Hill Carnival his whole life. With that keen understanding, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of the annual event’s musical trajectory from the Trinidadian and Tobagonian calypso sound to Jamaican sound system culture and beyond, we asked the luminary to pick ten tracks that, for him, define Carnival.

You can listen to Don Letts’ and Turtle Bay’s most recent Reggae 45 podcast here.

Sister Nancy ‘Bam Bam’
“An old school reggae classic that reminds me of the time sound systems ruled Carnival in the mid seventies - back then there were hundreds.”

Gardna ft. Tiffani Juno ‘See The Vibe’
“Straight outta Bristol one of the hottest UK M.C’s around with a tune that’s guaranteed to nice up any dance”

Protoje ‘Answer To You Name’
“Another of my current favourite Jamaican artists with a tune that’s a nod to a Prince Buster classic”

DJ Vadim & Blackstone ‘ No No No’
“A reworking of one of my all time favourite reggae tunes by a master of the remix Russia’s DJ Vadim”

Major Lazer ‘Blaze Up the Fire feat. Chronixx’
“Carnival’s come along way since the days of calypso and reggae - in the 21st century all genres are represented and It remains the perfect place to hear the evolution of urban music in the UK”

Want more? Read our feature on Children of the Windrush Generation: The pioneering DJs who paved the way for UK dance music...