Shella Record - A Reggae Mystery
After ten years, the search for the voice behind the song is complete.
David Rodigan- If you love music, especially reggae music, then you have to watch this amazing documentary.
Shella Records' first (and namesake) release Jamaican Fruit of African Roots is the lost vocal cut to one of King Tubby’s most dramatic and devastating dubs from the 1970s.
It was never released in Jamaica, and was buried on an obscure Canadian compilation released in tiny quantities in the mid 70s . After finding this record for 10 cents at a thrift store, I set off on a quest to find the the incredible singer travelling from Toronto, to Kingston Jamaica and all over the U.S. encountering Reggae legends, private detectives and a psychic along the way.
This obsession resulted in a feature documentary, completed in 2019. The film premiered at Hot Docs in 2019 (Top 10 Audience Favourite) and has played in festivals around the world as well as TV in Canada and Jamaica. Stay tuned for the online film release coming soon.
Check out the trailer below, and read more on the doc website
Shella Record - A Reggae Mystery is a feature length documentary about the search for lost Jamaican singer Sheila Rickards. Artist and vinyl fanatic Chris Flanagan becomes haunted by a mysterious singer’s voice after discovering an incredible junk shop record. He sets off on a 10 year quest to find the singer, known as Shella Record, from Toronto, to Kingston Jamaica and all across America enlisting the help of psychics, private investigators and a ghost hunter on a surreal adventure. SHELLA RECORD ‒ A REGGAE MYSTERY is a whimsical meditation on the power of music and obsession, blurring fact and fiction through the use of Flanagan’s creative studio built models and fantastical recreations. The film premiered at Hot Docs in 2019 and sold out at Doc NYC the same year.
Check out the film website here: www.shellarecordmystery.com
Jamaican Ska and Reggae legend Stranger Cole moved to Toronto in the early 1970s leaving stardom behind. Despite his talent he was forced to work at the Tonka Toy factory and as a security guard at Eaton's to make a living. He eventually established the first Caribbean business in Kensington Market - a record store and label at 58 Kensington Ave. We met with the veteran some 40 years later in his old neighbourhood during a recent tour.
Part of an on ongoing series unearthing Toronto's buried Reggae history
Made with the support of the Toronto Arts Council.
Director: Chris Flanagan
DOP: Graeme Mathieson
Editing and titles: Graeme Mathieson
Stranger Cole illustration: Chris Flanagan
Animation: Josh Kaplan
Sound Mix: Marina Hashemi