Motown Records UK release Small Axe Official Soundtrack

Posted on 13 June 2021
By Khyle Deen
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The highly-anticipated Official Soundtrack to the landmark five-film anthology Small Axe has been released via Motown Records UK.

Personally curated and selected by director Steve McQueen, The Small Axe Official Soundtrack features exclusive focus tracks, including a rendition of “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” by Michael Kiwanuka and previously released rework of Janet Kay’s classic “Silly Games” by R&B songstress and Motown US artist, Tiana Major9.

In addition to these exclusive tracks the soundtrack encompasses an original score by award-winning composer Mica Levi, music featured in the series; from the original of “Silly Games” by Janet Kay and “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye, to “Pressure Drop” by Toots & The Maytals and “More Warning” by King Tubby, Augustus Pablo & The Aggrovators; alongisde four powerful spoken word pieces written by the renowned poet Linton Kwesi Johnson performed by himself and cast members Sheyi Cole, Rochenda Sandall and Shaun Parkes.

Steve McQueen: “Music is an integral part of Small Axe, especially Lovers Rock. Selecting the songs was definitely one of the most fun parts of making the anthology series, so I’m really excited about the soundtrack release, especially the legendary tracks “Silly Games” and “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” performed by the brilliant Tiana Major9 and Michael Kiwanuka.”

The Small Axe Official Soundtrack is released across all platforms and will be accompanied by a limited edition vinyl released on Record Store Day 12th June with artwork direction by phenomenal creative collective; Mabdulle, Tara Ung and Wwwesh Studio.

Nominated in a record 15 categories at the TV Bafta Awards 2021 where Malachi Kirby won Best Supporting Actor, the Small Axe anthology series comprises five original films by Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years A Slave, Widows). Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will, despite rampant racism and discrimination. Even though this collection of films is set some decades ago, the stories are as vital and timely today as they were for the West Indian community in London at the time. Small Axe is a celebration of Black joy, beauty, love, friendship, family, music and even food; each one, in its own unique way, conveys hard-won successes, bringing hope and optimism.

The music featured on the official soundtrack is integral to the DNA of these stories, both enhancing the narrative and paying homage to the musical and cultural heritage of the times documented in the series.

The Small Axe Official Soundtrack, released by Motown Records UK is available now.


Mica Levi – Protest
Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop
Prince Far I – Throw Away Your Gun
Linton Kwesi Johnson – New Crass Massahkah
Sheyi Cole – Uprising
Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up
Tiana Major9 – Silly Games
Rochenda Sandall – Dread Beat An’ Blood
Mica Levi – Old Bailey
Michael Kiwanuka – To Be Young, Gifted And Black
Imagination – So Good, So Right
Junior English – After Tonight
Mica Levi – In God You Must Trust
Shaun Parkes – Inglan Is A Bitch
Janet Kay – Silly Games (Lovers Rock Edit)
King Tubby, Augustus Pablo & The Aggrovators – More Warning