Sound System Outernational

Sound System Outernational is an ongoing initiative of practitioners and researchers, in association with Goldsmiths, University of London, dedicated to recognizing, stimulating and supporting sound system culture worldwide. There are more sound systems in operation round the world then ever before, more women’s sound systems, more aficionados, more practitioners and more interest across different countries round the globe. Goldsmiths is located in SE London, a historic center of the capital’s sound system culture.

Sound System Outernational creates spaces for dance and discussion. We organize events to bring together:


  • Practitioners and researchers: we believe the ways of knowing of a popular culture and the knowledge systems of the academy have a lot to learn from each other


  • Past, present and future sound system culture: intergenerational conversations strengthen our culture and ensure its future


  • Technologies, aesthetics and politics: to understand the culture’s numerous forms, styles and media of creative expression

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Sound System Outernational 4: Strictly Vinyl

strictly vinyl

Strictly Vinyl

Sound System Outernational # 4  

on Saturday 13th of January, 1pm to 4 am, Goldsmiths, University of London

Strictly Vinyl is a one day and night meeting of minds and bodies, practitioners and researchers, learning and dancing from reggae sound system scene. Come to enjoy, learn and share your knowledge and experience, research, techniques and appreciation of vinyl culture.

Strictly Vinyl: Call for Papers, workshops, films, demonstrations, and more. 

**Deadline for proposals is  Thurs 30th November: please send in proposals here **


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Sound System Outernational in Volume!

Image result for volume! inna jamaican style

Volume!, a French academic journal of popular music studies has put out a special issue on Jamaican music, with a contribution from SSO’s own Brian D’Aquino, Julian Henriques, and Leonardo Vidigal:

This paper explores an innovative practice-as-research methodology that brings popular culture practitioners and aficionados together with academic researchers in the shared space of symposia on reggae sound system culture. As organizers, we describe what made the symposia different from the normal academic conference in terms of the range of participants, discussion topics, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, film showings and the sound system sessions from Roots Injection and Young Warrior. In a self-reflexive fashion some of the outcomes of the events were considered to be the intergenerational conversations, the support for women-led sound systems and the recognition and encouragement that the practitioners of the popular culture said they felt they were receiving from the academic institution of the university. This can be identified via voice recordings and social media comments as a mutual strengthening of the research culture and the sound system popular culture itself.

Read the full text here: http://volume.revues.org/5249






Reggae Research 2: Sound System Outernational at the Global Reggae Conference at UWI!

Sound System Outernational researchers are heading to the Global Reggae Conference at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica! There will be a research panel, and there will be both a screening of “Weapon is my Mouth” and a dance courtesy of Ba-Ba Boom outta Naples.

Global Reggae Conference
February 9-11, 2017
Dancehall, Music and the City
Reggae Studies Unit
Institute of Caribbean Studies
The University of the West Indies, Mona – Jamaica

For artistes, industry practitioners, researchers, academics, and fans… The Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus announce the fifth biennial Global Reggae Conference under the theme “Dancehall, Music and the City”. This conference is being staged at a time when we celebrate Bob Marley’s birth and the very foundation, the space – dancehall – through which the world has consumed seven distinct musical genres in mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, nyabinghi, dub and dancehall. This conference also comes at a time when Kingston celebrates its designation as a creative city for music by UNESCO in December 2015.



SSO Panel and Events at Global Reggae Conference
Borders, Limits and Listening: sound system research methodologies


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Reggae Research

After decades of neglect from research funders we are pleased to learn that 2017 promises a several events – in which some the SSO crew are taking part

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Reggae Research Network Symposium
This Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded network is a joint initiative between the Translating Cultures theme and the Connected Communities programme, and is open to researchers and partners funded under those areas, as well as to the wider academic and music communities. The network’s programme of activities explores the neglected important popular music, political, religious culture of reggae.
Three events are being held over the next 12 months:
25 January 2017 – an initial symposium at University of East Anglia, Norwich, scoping the field.
19 May 2017 (tbc) – a symposium at Liverpool University, in association with the Institute of Popular Music.
Autumn 2017 – an industry, musicians and researchers conference in London…

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SSO presentations at Reggae Research Network Symposium, 25th January:

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Sound System Aesthetics

Image from Resonate to This, courtesy of Liv Santos Holm

At the Sound System Outernational Symposium on July 2nd, 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in panel dedicated to sound system aesthetics chaired by Prof. Julian Henriques. The panel featured poet and playwright Kadijah Ibrahim, accompanied by dancer and artistic director of Phoenix Dance Company David Hamilton and legendary Leeds toaster KD Ranks ( of Maverick Sound, you can hear a tape of their 1985 clash with Saxon here), alongside designer and selector Liv Santos Holm, and creative practitioner SuhailK .

Over the coming weeks and months we will be producing a series of texts on the basis of panels and workshops at the Symposium in July.

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