A retrospective of Jamaican music in Liverpool through
sound system culture
The film, produced by Patrick And Errol Graham, focuses on aspects of this important and often neglected area of popular music and local cultural heritage, generally hidden from and unrecorded by mainstream history. Using oral history interviews of people who ran sound systems or were audiences to them, it provides an opportunity for exploration regarding questions of identity in relation to sound systems, reggae and urban Britain, in particular, Liverpool, from the 60s until present. Les Back, author of «Coughing up fire: Sound systems in south-East London», stated, ‘For many young black Britons, the reggae played by sound systems in dance-halls is inextricably related to coping with life in a white society.’
The discourse lead by both Errol, Patrick and guest speaker, will examine how soundsystem culture enabled the African-Caribbean population to visibly and aurally contribute to Liverpool’s sense of its own identity.
A sound system is a set of equipment for playing recorded music, in this context reggae. The equipment includes a van, loudspeakers, amplifiers, turntable decks, cables and ‘sound crew’.
What is soundsystem culture?
The term 'soundsystem culture' refers to a musical culture born in Kingston, Jamaica in the late 1940s and early 1950s, revolving around street parties and loud music what here in this country some would consider carnivalesque. Early Sound Systems were created by Jamaicans who were moving back and forth from the USA in the 1940's and 50's, and they form an integral part of Jamaican culture and history.
These sound systems were the method in which these migrants were able to maintain their cultural connection with their roots. They broadcast the remixed samples of reggae beats and using deejays or toasters (as we know it), and this created an underground music culture. Read more here
What Is Reggae Music?
Reggae is a musical genre developed by Jamaicans of African ancestry in the late 1960s. Reggae bands incorporate musical idioms from many different genres, including mento (a Jamaican folk genre), ska, rocksteady, calypso, and American soul music and rhythm and blues.
What is toasting in dub music?
Toasting, (rap in other parts of the Anglo Caribbean), or deejaying is the act of talking or chanting, usually in a monotone melody, over a rhythm or beat by a reggae deejay. It can either be improvised or pre-written. You can read more about the originators of this style here.
What is a sound clash in reggae?
A sound clash is a musical competition where crew members from opposing sound systems pit their skills against each other. Sound clashes take place in a variety of venues, both indoors and outdoors, and primarily feature reggae and dancehall music. The object is to beat or "kill" their competitors