Essential pre-iPhone era archival footage from dub soundsystem parties.
If you’re like us and have yet to experience the legendary dub sound systems of Jah Shaka, Aba Shanti-I, Channel One, King Earthquake, Iration Steppers, etc. in person, here’s one of the best YouTube channels around to catch a bit of the magic from wherever you are. Rooftop Defoe, the “Librarian of Dub,” runs a channel dedicated to sound system culture and uploads archival footage of parties across the UK recorded on pre-iPhone era handheld video cameras. The videos are often shaky and the sound completely distorted due to the massive subwoofers, but that’s all part of the charm!
Check one of our favorites from the channel featuring “The Zulu Warrior” Jah Shaka performing live at what looks like a banquet hall in Parklands, Birmingham. Massive speaker stacks can be seen surrounding the entire space along with a large photo of King Selassie above Shaka’s turntable setup. Shaka sessions have been described to us as fully “religious experiences” and it’s not hard to see why as the camera pans to attendees with their eyes closed, deep in a trance, dancing to the music and even clasping their hands together. Look closely and you might catch Shaka pulling from a number of laundry bags filled to the brim with records.
The Shaka session is followed by footage of Aba Shanti-I at his ongoing annual appearance at Leicester Carnival. A free outdoor party featuring some of the best soundsystems in the UK, Carnival is a must-visit for any dub/reggae fan and we hope to make it over someday soon…
Below, another favorite from the channel featuring even more incredibly distorted sound (this time left channel only) from the great King Earthquake. BOOM!
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