Steve McQueen announces release of Small Axe soundtrack

Tiana Major9 © Ira Chernova

Featuring exclusive tracks, spoken word pieces and a Mica Levi score.

You’ll soon be able to purchase the soundtrack to the Steve McQueen’s five-film anthology series Small AxeThe official soundtrack, which drops next month on Record Store Day (12 June), was curated and selected by McQueen himself.

The release features the series’ original score – which was composed by award-winning artist Mica Levi – alongside a selection of exclusive original tracks, music featured in the series and four spoken word pieces. The latter were written by ‘dub poet’ Linton Kwesi Johnson and are performed by himself as well as a trio of Small Axe cast members. The soundtrack will be released via Motown Records UK.

Motown Records US signee Tiana Major9 contributes an original rework of Janet Kay’s Silly Games. Kay’s version also features on the soundtrack. Elsewhere, Michael Kiwanunka reworks To Be Young, Gifted, and Black. Tracks from Marvin Gaye, Toots & The Maytals and King Tubby, Augustus Pablo & The Aggrovators also feature.

“Music is an integral part of Small Axe, especially Lovers Rock,” says McQueen. “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 Major 9 and Michael Kiwanuka.” 

“I am proud and thankful to be part of the music used in Steve McQueen’s telling of a too unknown true story,” adds Levi. “It goes to show that protest is an essential democratic right it can change legislation and create visibility and equality.”

The official Small Axe soundtrack will be released on Record Store Day, 12 June 2021. Pre-order it here