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Bristol Slaver

SHOW of Hands are to release a 2020 version of their classic, thought-provoking song, Bristol Slaver.

In July, some 23 years after the original song appeared on their acclaimed 1997 album Dark Fields, multi award-winning singer-songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer will unveil a stunning revamp of the Knightley-penned track.

The new version, produced by Rolling Stones collaborator Matt Clifford is a driving, savvy song about the transatlantic slave trade triangle and the key part the city of Bristol played in it – becoming Britain’s premier slaving port by the early 1700s.

The song’s lyrics tell the story of a Bristol slave trader.

Sung by Knightley, the song also references the Windrush generation. Invited to Britain from the Caribbean colonies after WW2, many settled in the St Paul’s area of Bristol in the late Forties and Fifties.

Topical and pertinent, both moving and menacing, the percussive track is accompanied by a powerful new video, created by Kent graphic design studio Stylorouge.

Recognising the recent incident where the bronze statue of prominent Bristol slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by Black Lives Matter protestors and thrown into the harbour, Knightley has added apt closing words to the song: “I will drown/your cold-stone heart/in the ocean.”

“The song highlights the inescapably shameful but often overlooked history of a city,” Knightley says.

“Hopefully it contributes a little towards redressing the balance and highlights that period.

“Show of Hands have had many positive connections with Bristol over the years – we have headlined the former Colston Hall, now awaiting a new name, numerous times. On a personal level, my young son’s life was saved by the skills of staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital. It’s a vibrant south-west city albeit with a flawed past.”



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