The UK Jamaica Sound System took its place in the Notting Hill Carnival of the 1970s amid the revelry of Mas (masque) displays and steel pan bands. Author Lloyd Bradley (Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital, Bass Culture) presents rare film and TV clips illustrating the emergence of this phenomenon and its presence today as an essential component of the country’s biggest street festival. This discussion will also feature very special guests from the UK reggae and dance scene.
We are pleased to confirm the guests for this event. Norman Jay is now unable to attend.
- Nicole-Rachelle Moore (George Padmore Insitute and carnival organiser)
- Lionel McCalman (Captain Nostalgia Steel Band)
- Dennis Bovell (Matumbi; LKJ’s Dub Band; Sufferah HiFi)
- Young Warrior (Jah Shaka’s son; sound system operator and record producer)
- Robert “Ribs” Fearon (Selector Unity Sounds; Fatman HiFi)
- Rudy Ranx (Deejay Good Times sound system)
- June Reid and Lynda Rosenior-Patten (Owner/operator Nzinga Sound System)
Hosting the event will be author (‘Bass Culture’ and ‘Sounds Like London’) and founder of Sounds Like London festival, Lloyd Bradley
In partnership with Sounds Like London, a festival celebrating a century of black British music
Sound systems arrive in London……………….
The arriving soundmen swiftly instituted an underground circuit of blues dances, house parties and shebeens that became a vital aspect of West Indian social life in London. Although Soho held a handful of Jamaican owned nightclubs, those were out of reach for
many recent arrivals, while as far as the West End from, say, Stockwell brought its own set of concerns about personal safety. A few London pubs welcomed Caribbean customers, and engaged sound systems at the weekend, but with outright racial hostility
never far from the surface, much of the city’s nightlife was effectively closed off to black men.
For most ordinary black Londoners, routinely refused entrance to just about all the capital’s regular dancehalls, the only options were unlicensed, pay-on-the-door dances in basements, empty houses and school halls where West Indian caretakers would make premises available after hours.
No one was making a fortune out of these dances, but the soundmen, who often had day jobs, would play them just to keep the back-home spirit alive. As welcoming and familiar environments, full of people who looked like each other, the dances had the
significant effect of bringing expatriates from different islands together. After an unforgiving week at work, a house party complete with curry goat and rice, bottled stout or rum, made it very easy for different nationalities to realise that, in London, they had much more in common than was keeping them apart.
From Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital
by Lloyd Bradley
When: Saturday 10 August 2019 14:00
BFI SOUTHBANK NFT3 General Admission (GA)