The news of Jah Shaka’s death has reached us even out here on the far northwest coast of the United States of Amnesia. I must admit that I have never quite managed to connect with his music, although have several of his releases in various forms. Unfortunately, I never got to see and hear him do his sound system live. By all accounts he was a pretty awesome operator - and undoubtedly significant in the wider history of DJing.
I’m curious if anyone here ever saw him live, even followed him, or has any added insight into the world of Jamaican sound systems from first hand experience. My understanding of it is almost all very second hand, although I find it fascinating to read about. And I listen to a lot of dub.
I saw Shaka several times in London at the Rocket and in Leicester,those nights were amazing his selections were second to none and the pure bass sound made the air vibrate.
For me Shaka and Aba- Shanti are the greatest dub sound systems I’ve ever heard. There is a really vibrant dub scene here in Leicester where there are different crews playing most weekends. In fact I’m heading down to Roots Cafe tonight to hear I-Mitri and others play.
Thanks. Got to check that out. Looks like it’s not a five-minute ride.
I couldn’t help thinking that there is now this tremendous soundsystem without a “master,” if that’s the right word. It would seem that over the years Jah Shaka must have modified it and improved it and personalized it to an extent that made it his and his alone. I suppose he must have had apprentices and assistants who would have some understanding of the equipment, but it’s my understanding that at some level a system like that is operated by magic, which I claim is really just a fanciful way of saying personal craft or technique. At the same time, it’s a tremendous cultural asset - as Jah Shaka himself was.
Be really nice to see this system given the respect and veneration of its master, that it be preserved in some meaningful way. Doesn’t end up with legal abominations fought over it as happened after Bob Marley passed.