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Jah Shaka

Related: reggae - UK - sound system


Jah Shaka has been operating a London-based roots reggae soundsystem since the early 1970s. His name is an amalgamation of the rastafarian term for God and that of a zulu warrior.

He started out on the Freddie Cloudburst soundsystem, before setting up his own.

Shaka is perhaps best known for sticking to his rastafarian beliefs in the 1980s whilst other soundsystems followed the Jamaican trend towards playing "slack" dancehall music. His refusal to compromise inspired a host of new UK reggae artists and soundsystems such as The Disciples, Iration Steppas, Jah Warrior, Conscious Sounds, The Rootsman and Abashanti-I. Non-reggae artists such as Basement Jaxx have also cited Jah Shaka as an influence during interviews.

On his own record label he has released music from Jamaican artists such as Max Romeo, Johnny Clarke, Bim Sherman and Prince Alla as well as UK groups such as Aswad and Dread & Fred. He has released a number of dub albums, often under the Commandments of Dub banner.

In 1980 Shaka played himself in the film Babylon (directed by Franco Rosso), operating his soundsystem in a soundclash at the climax of the story.

In 1989 Shaka visited Jamaica and worked with many musicians there, including King Tubby.

In 2000 he suffered numerous injuries during a house fire.

The Jah Shaka soundsystem continues to appear regularly in London, with occasional tours of the USA, Europe and Japan. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jah_Shaka [Mar 2006]


Jah Shaka has played a major role in the U.K. roots revival scene, which emerged in the eighties. His commitment to Rastafarian beliefs expressed over militant steppers rhythms made Jah Shaka's sound system the only significant system in the U.K. that kept faith with the ideals from the seventies. Jah Shaka not only concentrated on his sound system activities, but also produced artists like Willie Williams, Horace Andy and Max Romeo as well as a series of heavyweight dub outings.


see Brixton

http://www.jahshakasoundsystem.com/ [...]




  1. New Decade of Dub (1996) Jah Shaka, Mad Professor [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Having seen Shaka Live at the controls it is no wander he has captured the spirit of a live dancehall in this CD. He is the master of Reggae music played live his natural DJ skills at the mike or not equalled in my opinion. Its just such a shame he does not include the siren and other sound effects that make his brand of dub unique. Its also a shame that that the CD is not available to ship internationally via Amazon.com

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