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Jah Shaka Sound System, Club Minerva, Southend on Sea - Friday june 29th 2007.

"So it was in the begining so shall it be in the end"

Jah Shaka Sound System, formed in 1970 in London - still going strong. to witness a Shaka dub session is to have your senses assaulted with deep, heavy dub bass. I have never met anyone that has failed to be impressed with the vibes at a Shaka dance. Inspired by rastafari and King haile Sellassie i Shaka plays a form of reggae known as "Dub" or "Roots".. Never affected by the fashions of youth or the music industry, Shaka remains true to the beliefs of rastafari and spiritual vibes..

A Reggae sound system is an awesomely powerful thing, especially shaka sound. The Minerva a building which only holds a couple of hundred people max and had four stacks of speakers in it equalling 15k of sound! Shaka plays with a garrad deck from the 1960's and an array of analogue effects including syndrum and trademark siren effect with echo and reverb added for further effect. He favours a Garrad over a newer turntable as Shaka plays mainly dub plates (exclusive / one off mixes of reggae tunes) and apparantly the Garrad has a better quality of sound with Dubs.....

Shaka himself is based in South London and for much of the last 35 years has been known as "Jah Shaka - number one sound in London!". There are many other sounds eminating from London such as Jah Tubby, Channel one, Aba-shanti-i" all wicked and on a Roots / dub tip. For many though Shaka is the Originator and cannot be equalled. Many sound systems clash each other to improve their reputation or to prove who is the top selekta or sound. shaka himself has clashed many sounds over the years but has left this behind now and prefers to play sessions with just himself at the controls......

It was twenty pound to get in, dearer than normal but nobody complains because Shaka sound does not play in Southend regulary like he used to. We were witnessing a living legend on the Sound system circuit and nobody knows how much longer this amazing dj/musician will carry on playing. What always strikes me about a Shaka session is the variety of different people that attend, truly multi cultural, all ages and culture alongside, in unity dancing till four am in the morning... Any politician that preaches about integration in this country should attend shaka for a serious lesson! The venue rocked to the sound s of Reggae....

Shaka has an almost unrivalled collection of Reggae and dub plates collected over the years, so there is no shortage of music to be played. He has his own label "Jah shaka music" which has released dozens of records and artists, some home grown UK others from yard (jamaica).. Shaka is a regular visitor to jamaica where he records well known and up and coming artists. Also Reggae musicians and producers make music and give Shaka dubs to play on his sound - Shaka plays all night! It would be impossible to list the music i heard as i was getting lost in the occassion. Much of the music is "Dub style". Typically a hard nosed Reggae record with concious lyrics and then a instrumental / dub version. Sometimes three or four versions are played, each cut getting heavier and more manic especially as Shaka uses a pre amp which can cut the bass or top frequencies increasing the excitement to fever pitch. He also mc's on the mic and plays without interruption till the end. The crowd get in on the act shouting words of encouragement "Shaka Shaka!". as the evening goes on the music gets heavier and more exclusive, when attending a Shaka dance always stay to the end as the last hour is complete dub-plate mayhem..

I have been attending Shaka sound since the late 80's and was inspired enough to build my own sound system. There is much music in the world to play and hear but everyone should attend Shaka at least once, i can guarantee a positive experience and you never know, like me you may be inspired to take things a step further and play your own sound system.

"Shaka - number one sound in London!"

Paul Roots.........

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