It comes with great sadness to lose a personality such as Derek Serpell-Morris aka DJ Derek (Sweet Memory Sounds). Someone who can evoke inspiration within ourselves to continue the pursuit of our passion, Derek was a testament that age is only a number and continually broke down barriers and social constructs.
The former chocolate factory accountant gave it all away to pursue his love for Jamaican music – rising to become a cult figure throughout the UK - DJ'ing ska, rocksteady, reggae and dancehall right up until his death at the age of 73. However, DJ Derek was more than a novelty – he was an icon who was well respected far beyond the reaches of Bristol.
Long-time friend and fellow-reggae heavyweight Don Letts describes his influence and knowledge of Jamaican music in an interview with The Guardian - 'He was a reggae encyclopedia.... He taught me the importance of culture in bringing people together. He was an English treasure.'
Not being confined to solely playing pub gigs (for which he was highly regarded) Derek upstaged the best of them with legendary sets at super-festivals such as Bestival, Glastonbury and WOMAD.
We offer Derek's family, friends and loved ones our sincerest condolences as we say goodbye to a legend. One love.
Click here for DJ Derek's life in photos courtesy of his family and the Bristol Post.