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- 19.9.2014, 12:53 #36475
Sound System Culture Relies On Rural Jamaica For Survival
In light of an article published in The Sunday Gleaner on September 7, 2014, titled ’The good, the bad and the ugly of dub splicing’, where the practice of dubplate splicing and sound system culture in Jamaica was explored, sound system operators have come forward to clarify the view that Jamaica’s sound system and clash culture is dying.
The article pointed to Japan and Europe as places that have adopted the sound system culture and have managed to establish strong support in circles familiar with Jamaican music. However, Jamaican sound system operators are now asserting that the culture is very much alive in Jamaica, but only in rural parts of the island.
The sound system operators believe rural Jamaica still has some of the most prolific sound systems in the world. However, the media’s focus on Kingston and the Corporate Area has led to the belief that the sound system culture is no longer flourishing.
According to St Elizabeth-based sound system operator, Anthony Keming, the sound system culture is so alive in the parish that there are at least 15 notable sound systems in every five miles.
Keming, who represents Bredda Hype sound, says persons who reside in the parish rely heavily on sound systems to provide for their families.
”A lot of people in St Elizabeth depend on parties for sending their children to school. Even if somebody dies, we play sound system, farm workers return from abroad and they want to celebrate – we play music, it’s just our way of life,” he said.
Keming says the partying ways of the citizens ultimately led to a rise in the number of sound systems in the parish over the years, and inevitably led to clashes, because each new sound system would eventually want to become the dominant one, so as to become more marketable in the eyes of event organisers.
”Recording artistes can tell yu, St Elizabeth sound systems purchase the most dubplates in the country, because new sounds always emerge and they want to prove a point,” he said.
SURPLUS OF DJS
”Kingston has a lot of pouch DJs, but in St Elizabeth, if a man even start out as a pouch DJ in a few years’ time he will start to build his own sound system. We are trying to uphold the culture of our music so we keep it authentic. Most pouch DJs don’t even use dubplates … when a real sound system plays, it is like a school, because we play music from old school come straight to present. Pouch DJ just come play some tune fi half hour and leave and then a next one pick up and play the same set of songs,” Keming said.
”Not everywhere in St Elizabeth has cable, so the youth are not really brainwashed into American culture like in Kingston. They are more about the roots, sometimes we string up the sound at some place where you not even see much houses, and by dance time the entire place is filled with people,” he added.
Another sound system based in rural Jamaica is the iconic Bass Odyssey. However, unlike other rural sound systems, Bass Odyssey has managed to develop a fanbase for itself in Kingston, due to its numerous clash victories and its relatively long existence in dancehall. The St Ann-based 25-year-old outfit has been crowned champion sound system of the world twice, and has won numerous other titles. Bass Odyssey’s name is almost synonymous with sound clashing and has earned the credentials to critique a culture it helped to mould. However, booking agent for the sound system, Dwayne Walford, was not too quick to throw his Kingston associates under the bus.
”You have a few town sounds, like Metro Media and Stone Love, still holding up the culture. But at the same time, we have to understand that the pouch thing is less expensive, that is why in Kingston it is so popular. The city is more populated and have a lot of working class who seek quick entertainment, so the demand is great, and that is why you have mostly pouch DJs in Kingston,” he said.
Kingston-based selector Sky Juice, in speaking with The Gleaner, offered a different reason for Kingston’s situation. The Metromedia frontman and current World Clash Champion says the lack of venues, coupled with the Noise Abatement Act, has cost sound system operators in Kingston dearly.
”In country they have lawns (venues) that are not very close to residential areas. Country is not commercial like town and the people don’t block up the roads with dem vehicle. More lawns needed in Kingston, because as yu mek little noise dem call di police. Di man dem not making no sound system in Kingston because it don’t mek sense yu have a big sound inna yu yard and cant play it, and me respect di law. Suh, as a police sey turn it off, a dat mi duh… the way the system set, it don’t easy for sound systems in Kingston,” Sky Juice said.
Record producer Wayne Lonesome agrees with Sky Juice, as he says the venues in Kingston are too expensive to acquire, unlike rural areas which are more affordable and attract less production costs. Therefore, a sound system culture is easier to develop and protect in rural areas.
In 2013, State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment Damion Crawford had promised to identify zones in which music could be played within specified time limits, including a 24-hour zone which he classified as Zone D. However, the minister is yet to identify such areas that will become part of his planned zoning system.
Country mi seh!!19.9.2014, 15:57 #249504
Mitä tarkoittaa ’pouch DJ’ ? DJ, jonka kaikki tarvikkeet mahtuvat pussukkaan..?
Ihan mielenkiintoinen ajankuva tuo kyllä, tattis vaan linkistä.
Tässä myös artikkeli, johon tuossa viitataan:
The good, the bad and the ugly of dub splicing
Sound clashes were extremely popular in the ’80s and ’90s, and saw sound systems like Sound Trooper, Silver Hawk, Pink Panther, Black Kat, Bass Odyssey, among others, being immortalised by fans. However, there was a drastic decline in sound clashes in Jamaica, and many systems were forced to take their talents to places like Japan and the United States (US), in an effort to salvage what remained of the sound system culture.
In recent years, corporate brands like Guinness and Magnum have hosted sound clashes in an attempt to revive the culture, an effort which has been welcomed by sound system operators and saw the exposure of some new clash faces from Flava Unit, Red Heat and Bredda Hype sound systems, among others.
Sound system clashes are huge income generators for selectors and recording artistes, who rely on mutual favours to develop themselves or their respective brands. The selectors rely on recording artistes to sell them customized versions of their popular songs as dubplates, while recording artistes hope their songs are played in the dance, so as to earn from their work, as well as benefit from the promotion of the record. However, that mutual relationship is sometimes disrupted, when unscrupulous persons try to cash in on the benefits of sound clashes by partaking in what is called ’dubplate splicing’.
’Dubplate splicing’ refers to a process in which original recordings have been modified to a dubplate format, using a computer or an artiste impersonator. The illegitimate recording is now called a ’spliced dubplate’, and may be sold cheaper than an original dubplate, or even more expensive, depending on the level of demand or greedy desire of the unscrupulous person. Many recording artistes and sound systems have fallen victim to this practice. Sound systems have lost clashes as a result of spliced dubplates, and recording artistes have lost revenue-earning opportunities, which goes into the pockets of impersonators.
Veteran reggae artiste Super Beagle is one who has fallen victim to splicing for decades, and he tells The Sunday Gleaner that he is ready to stand up against the practice, citing that dubplate splicing is a copyright infringement. The singer says his internationally renowned commercial dupblate single Dust A Soundboy has been spliced so often that it has different storylines and concepts.
”Dust A Soundboy was recorded in the 80s and I believe it is one of the most spliced songs ever. When I did the song I only did one version, which was the sound clash concept. But nowadays mi a hear versions hitting out on certain sexual practice and versions saying who is getting love from woman tonight from who is not,” he said.
According to the artiste, while he has no problem with persons who have respected his work enough to offer their own interpretations and versions, credit must be given where due. He says the only person who should sell a dubplate for Dust A Soundboy is himself, or his intro man Fuzzy Jones. However, Jones is now deceased.
”I love music and I do cover versions, too. Suh I don’t have a problem with a man doing a cover version to my song, because it’s a big hit globally. But when a man a guh voice a dubplate of my song or use computer mek it over and pass it off as me and collect money, now that is where I draw the line. Mi a human enuh, I have kids to feed, too. So if a man want a dubplate, simply find mi and we deal with it the right way,” Super Beagle said.
The veteran artiste also expressed disappointment at sound system operators who knowingly accept spliced dubs instead of contacting the original creators. He also disclosed that dubplate prices vary as it relates to the popularity of the song and calibre of the artiste, but highlighted that a commercial artiste could earn anywhere between $100,000 to $500,000 for one dubplate.
”I left the island and lived in the US, where I was touring with my band for years. But I recently decided that I want to come home, because Jamaica is the place to be if you want real inspiration to do reggae music. Because I wasn’t around, the youth dem nuh really know mi, although they know my music, but that will soon change. I have a new album coming and I plan to upload a video to let fans know how to find me. No need to splice me anymore, because mi dah ya fi dust the sound boy dem,” Super Beagle warned.
Radio DJ and clash selector SJ Lux told The Sunday Gleaner that the practice of splicing dubplates can be damaging to recording artistes in a manner that exceeds financial gains. He says branding and public perception of recording artistes are also at stake.
”Some artistes don’t use expletives in their music and when somebody makes a spliced dub of that artiste’s music and use expletives, it leaves bad impressions. Some fans are not very forgiving and they will instantly lose respect for the artistes,” SJ Lux pointed out.
The Suncity DJ also said some spliced dubplates are poorly produced because some persons who splice dubplates have little or no value for the work of the artiste being spliced, therefore, anything goes.
The iconic and controversial Ricky Trooper, however, said recording artistes were to shoulder part of the blame, as he says they have been charging too much for dubplates. The veteran sound clash selector says $100,000 is too much for one dubplate, when selectors are hardly earning $50,000 for a night’s work.
”If one dubplate cost $100,000 how wi a guh buy 10 of dem? When at the same time yu nah mek $50,000 to play for the night. Every sound system man splice at some point of dem career, but dem nah guh admit that to the media. But the artiste dem leave dem with no choice because dem too expensive and that also lead to the decline of Jamaica’s sound clash culture. Yu have some youth in the ghetto wey sound same like the original singer and yu pay dem a small change and dem deal wid it … but a di original artiste dem cause dat,” Trooper declared.
The selector also advises sound system operators to form relationships with recording artistes in order to gain their loyalty. Ricky Trooper will next clash in November, when he will match up against Poison Dart from Miami and Reggae King from St Elizabeth.
Ja ylimalkaan muuten X, kiitos tuosta Buju-blogista, sillon tällön tulee tarkastettua tilannetta tuota kautta, joten kiitos siitäkin.20.9.2014, 17:12 #249656
NimetönRas Shemi wrote:Mitä tarkoittaa ’pouch DJ’ ? DJ, jonka kaikki tarvikkeet mahtuvat pussukkaan..?
Pouch DJ on cd-kansiota mukanaan kantava (usein yksin työskentelevä) selektori joka ei omista soundia (äänentoistoa)Quote:Ja ylimalkaan muuten X, kiitos tuosta Buju-blogista, sillon tällön tulee tarkastettua tilannetta tuota kautta, joten kiitos siitäkin.
Kiitos kiitoksista, hyvä että toimii! mukavasti lukijoita sillä on ollutkin, vaikka aika vähän päivitystä tilanteeseen on viimeaikoina ollut. Nyt onneksi taas Ogletreen myötä valoa tunnelin päässä!20.9.2014, 22:30 #249686
Kiitos näistä, Mielenkiintoisia juttuja soundeista (ja ”pouch DJ’stä)
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