By Simon Jones
Northfield, Birmingham- October 1986
The time is approximately 2 a.m., in the course of 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 such a lot of its population lengthy since
retired to their beds- such a lot, yet now not all. For in a dilapidated
block of residences in the back of the enormous Longbridge vehicle plant,
something is occurring. lifestyles is stirring and other people relocating to a
particular form of rhythm, with a special feel of time to
that embodied by way of the adjoining monolith to British 'motoring'.
Tonight, Scientist Hi-Powa, champion sound process of south
Birmingham, are taking part in 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 should be felt numerous blocks away, sporting through
the constructions 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
205) This tradition of non-verbal communication became a central feature of black music in the New World, where instrumental music often overshadowed 'lyrical' expressions in semantic importance. In Jamaican slave culture, African rhythms of great complexity were preserved in forms such as kumina, while burru duplicated the exact pitch, size and 12 History number of drums of its West African parent form (Clarke, 1980, pp. 52-3). In the New World context, however, drums were often restricted to the beating of dance rhythms, losing their explicitly communicative function.
To add spiritual and philosophical weight to a particular song, the reggae lyricist is also able to draw on the rich source of rhymes, riddles, folk-stories and proverbs in Jamaican oral culture Uohnson, 1983). In this way, reggae lyricists attempt not only to articulate the collective consciousness of their audience, but also to organise and politicise it, by working on the practical ideologies and elements of 'good sense' that already exist in the popular culture of the Jamaican working class.
That period, however, saw the beginning of a number of fundamental shifts and changes in Jamaican popular culture and music, changes precipitated by the growing industrialisation and urbanisation ofJamaican society generally. Shifting patterns of migration throughout the Caribbean and Americas in this period, together with the break-up of rural communities through forced expropriation and lopsided economic growth, caused a massive displacement of the Jamaican peasantry and a rapid rate of rural-urban migration (Beckford and Witter, 1980).
Black Culture, White Youth: The Reggae Tradition from JA to UK by Simon Jones