Jamaican Sound System, Origin of the Underground culture

A great part of the londonian underground culture was widely influenced by the original Jamaican Sound Systems. Those Caribbean “disco cars” have wide-spread a movement of freedom on a large scale with music in the streets.

At the late of the 1940’s the Jamaican Sound System became a big music provider for the working-class. They permited to improvise street parties in Kingston thanks to precarious settlements and kilos of sound. While the white European minority controled the Island in a society marked by racism, an underground spirit was born within the black community.

This spirit was also influenced by an americanization of the Jamaican society. In fact, Jamaica has become more urban than ever. Jamaican sound systems were also inspired by the american tones. During the sound system events, artists played some urban reggae, dub music and they launched the ragga dancehall movement among others.

Besides the music, those Jamaican people came also for a particular atmosphere. A good Sound System event does have to play powerful good music and to provide a lot of beer too. The Sound System owner could be rental thanks to a low entrance rate established for everybody and above all the sale of alcohol. Those events were located where they used to live, in the heart of Kingston’s ghettos.


One of the most famous Sound System owner, Duke Reid.

This Sound System movement arrived in UK very quickly thanks to the Jamaican immigration. Where started the underground movement in London.


For more feelings about Jamaican Sound Systems:


Germain Fournier


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