Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jamaican Sound Systems

In Jamaica, a Sound System is a popular type of nomadic outdoor concert/party. The sound system scene is generally regarded as an important part of Jamaican cultural history and as being responsible for the rise of modern Jamaican musical styles such as ska and dub.


The sound system concept first became popular in the 1950's, in the ghettos of Kingston. DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties. In the beginning, the DJs played American R&B music, but as time progressed and more local music was created, the sound migrated to a local flavor.

The sound systems were big business, and represented one of the few sure ways to make money in the unstable economy of the area. The promoter (the DJ) would make his profit by charging a minimal admission, and selling food and alcohol. Competition between these sound systems was fierce, and eventually two DJs emerged as the stars of the scene: Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd, and Duke Reid. It was not uncommon for thousands of people to be in attendance.

The popularity of a sound system was mainly contingent on one thing: having new music. In order to circumvent the release cycle of the American record labels, the two sound system superstars turned to record production. Initially, they produced only singles for their own sound systems, known as "Exclusives" or Dubplates - a limited run of one copy per song.

What began as an attempt to copy the American R&B sound using local musicians became Jamaica's first unique music: Ska. As this new musical form became more popular, both Dodd and Reid began to move more seriously into music production. Coxsone Dodd's production studio became the famous Studio One, while Duke Reid founded the famous Treasure Isle.

Jamaican sound systems

* Duke Reid - The Trojan

* Coxsone Dodd - Coxsone Downbeat

* King Edwards The Giant

* Sinclair The Lion

* Count Boysie

* Prince Buster

* King Tubby's Hi-Fi



* Bells The President

* Lloyd Daley - Lloyd The Matador

* Percival Tibby - Sir Percy

* Percel Chin - Admiral Chin

* Joe Chin - Unitone

* Ken Hamilton - Duke Hamilton

* Roy Muncey - Count Muncey

* Mr Chung - Cavaliers

* King Prof

* Bass Odyssey

* Killamanjaro

* Hoo Kim Brothers - Channel One

* Stone Love Movements

* Harry Mudie - Mudies Hi-Fi

* Socialist Roots Sound System

* Fire Links

* Code Red Sound

* Renaissance Disco

UK (Jamaican-style) Sound Systems

* Sir Coxsone Outernational

* Saxon

* Unity

* Qualitex

* Immortal

* Infinity

* Iration Steppas

* High Pressure

* Symbiosis

* Jah Shaka

* Channel One

* King Earthquake

* Jah Youths

* Freedom Masses

* Aba-Shanti-I

* Jah Voice

* Operation Sound System

* Jah Tubbys

* RDK Hifi

* Toxic Sound System

* Axis Sound System -

* Gladdy wax

See you in Jamaica.


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