​Brixton’s Universal Roots Records is closing down

today27/07/2023 14

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South London record store, Universal Roots Records, has announced that it will be closing its doors on Saturday, July 29.

A statement from the record store’s owner Jah Lingwa, as seen by Brixton Buzz, explains that Universal Roots’ closure can be attributed to “number of reasons” — citing the cost of living crisis and Brexit.

“It has been a challenging few years with the cost of living crisis,” Lingwa explained. “We have found it too much to continue in this present economic climate.”

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“The final straw has been a few bad mind grown men who seem to think they know better,” he added. “I’m dun with that… I am a peaceful man and don’t want to be around such negative vibes.”

The store, which currently sits in Brixton’s Reliance Arcade specialising in reggae, dub, lovers rock, roots, and ska, will close on Saturday, July 29, after five years of service.

Universal Roots thanked “all the beautiful people” who supported the store over the years. “We are truly grateful it has been a great experience,” Lingwa said. “We had a great time, met many wonderful people and supplied many great tunes through the shop… pure vibes.”

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Speaking to Resident Advisor, Jah Lingwa, known also as Markie Lyrics, explained that the gentrification of Reliance Arcade also had a hand in the store’s closure.

“It’s been challenging to pay the rent,” he told RA. “We used to post a lot of vinyl to customers in Europe but they can’t afford to buy it because of the crazy amounts of tax incurred since Brexit.”

Universal Roots was first founded as a record label in 1998, eventually taking over the former Pure Vinyl Records store in 2017 after some 20 years since its launch.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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