Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from JA to by Simon Jones

By Simon Jones

Northfield, Birmingham- October 1986
The time is approximately 2 a.m., through the indefinable
zone among Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The
Birmingham suburb of Northfield has close down, its pubs
closed many hours in the past, and so much of its population lengthy since
retired to their beds- so much, yet no longer all. For in a dilapidated
block of residences in the back of the enormous Longbridge motor vehicle plant,
something is occurring. lifestyles is stirring and folks relocating to a
particular type of rhythm, with a distinct feel of time to
that embodied through the adjoining monolith to British 'motoring'.
Tonight, Scientist Hi-Powa, champion sound process of south
Birmingham, are enjoying a 'musical meltdown', because it says on
the price ticket, to which 'all posses are welcome'.
Approaching the residences taking walks, the faint reverberations of a
bass line could be felt a number of blocks away, sporting through
the structures and alongside the pavement. As we input via a
broken-down doorway, the DJ's voice turns into audible above
the now rumbling bass styles. relocating quickly up the
stairs, we knock at the door, greet the gateman and input ...

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Extra resources for Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from JA to UK

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In these processes Rastafari plays a critical role. Since the mass conversion of reggae musicians to the movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jamaican music has become saturated with its political discourses, symbols and insights. Through the political vision of Rasta, the reggae lyricist attempts to jettison the Eurocentric value system of the neocolonial bourgeoisie, by expounding Afrocentric values and fostering a sense of collective racial identity. The lyrical preoccupations of reggae, however, extend far beyond mere statements of solidarity and anti-racism.

The sound-systembased businessmen, however, were better equipped to respond to the needs of their working-class audience, and soon followed into mass production of records, quickly establishing an embryonic infrastructure of studios, pressing plants and recording labels Uohnson, 1983). As consumption of recorded music increased, the industry continued to gather momentum throughout the early and mid-1960s. It was in this period that most of the present-day economic structures and cultural practices of the jamaican recording industry were forged.

These maroon settlements were perhaps the most visible demonstration that blacks never fully consented to European domination. Within their confines were nurtured music and dance forms such as the Koromanti in which the African heritage was stronger than anywhere else on the island (Bilby, 1985). The very existence of the maroon communities was a continual thorn in the side of the British, while for those enslaved on the plantations they remained a ·source of cultural and political inspiration, providing a symbol of rebellion as much as a real avenue of escape.

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