Reggae ‘inna’ England: British town to pay tribute to reggae history

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The British town of Huddersfield is paying tribute to its Jamaican/reggae history, by building a sound system based on the type Jamaican immigrants played there during the 1970s, as Howard Campbell reports in Jamaica’s Observer.

It is being assembled by Paul Huxtable, a Huddersfield disc jockey who also operates the Axis Sound System.

The project is part of the Sound System Culture heritage project, and revisits an era when Jamaicans played their music at dances in the Yorkshire town.

Many of those dances took place at Venn Street club, which helped put Huddersfield on the British reggae map.

Located in northern England, Huddersfield became the go-to spot for Jamaican dances in the 1970s when leading reggae artistes would perform at dances or concerts in the club.

Mandeep Samra, Project Manager, told the Sunday Observer that saluting Huddersfield’s sound system roots stemmed from informal discussions with local sound men about the town’s reggae history:

“I have a love of reggae, particularly roots-reggae, so I was naturally interested in knowing about stories relating to sound systems in Huddersfield,” she said. “The town has a rich history so it’s important these stories get archived and shared with the wider public.”

The stories collected will inform the development of an audio installation which will consist of a traditional sound system, a turntable and a stack of 10-inch dub plate vinyl which include soundbytes from the recordings.

Once completed, it is scheduled to tour the carnival circuit throughout the north; dates are confirmed for Preston Carnival on May 26, Deighton Carnival on June 29, Huddersfield Carnival on July 13 and Liverpool International Carnival on July 27.

An exhibition of photos documenting the heyday of reggae dances and clubs in Huddersfield is also being planned together with the production of a book and documentary film.

According to the 2011 British census, there are approximately 4,047 black Caribbean nationals in Huddersfield, three per cent of the town’s population.

Jamaicans comprised most of the West Indians who migrated to Britain after the Second World War. Many who moved to the ‘Mother Country’ in the 1950s took with them the sound system culture that had emerged in Kingston during that decade.

By the 1960s, sound systems blared throughout London and the Midlands, areas where Jamaicans largely settled. Coxsone and Saxon are just two of the British ‘sounds’ that gave artistes like singer Maxi Priest a start.

For the original report go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Reggae–inna–England_14051212#ixzz2QWQMTmUJ

One thought on “Reggae ‘inna’ England: British town to pay tribute to reggae history

  1. Never knew Huddersfield was a popular location for Jamaican dances. Great to hear they are honoring their sound system roots

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