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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Skin Deep Magazine

Our friends at Skin Deep Magazine are preparing the paper release of their 6th issue, Spectacle:

At the time we began thinking about the spectacle, Brexit had already happened and the American election was nearing its end. Many more perceptive observers than us had anticipated both events, and much has happened in the months since – which have felt like lifetimes – to reinforce the idea that white supremacy, sexism, capitalism, neo-malthusianism and climate change denial are structures and ideas that many are simply unwilling to let go of. But like other ‘progressives’ and people on ‘the Left’, our worldview was defined by the newsfeeds we accepted as gospel, the echo-chambers we uncritically inhabited. Our choice of theme is an attempt to understand how it is that our screens – the multiple, everyday mediums through which we consume the narratives and images that define our cultural climate – produce perceptions, or rather distortions, with the power to change the course of history.

In this issue we focus on the spectacle(s) of protest, prisons and borders. From Indigenous knowledge to internet languages, via videogames and into the unconscious, we hear from satirical cartoonists, activist collectives, historians, poets and fantasy architects on truth, information, performance and power.



Sound System Outernational #4 Vinyl Weekender: four days of good vibes 11th to 14th January 2018



In the midst of the current “vinyl revival” it is important to recognize the hugely important role that the Jamaican sound system played in turning the domestic record player into a musical instrument in its own right. In Jamaica sound system culture re-purposed the gramophone, taking it from the middle class living room out onto the street to be enjoyed by the community. In the Bronx this became hip-hop, across the world the performance art of DJing was born along with rave and club culture. The vinyl medium – 12” singles and 45s – has been central to this. Now an appreciation for the value of the “vinyl sound” is only increasing in a world of digital music files. The SSO#4 Vinyl Weekender pays respect to where this sound comes from.

 Sound System Outernational celebrates this phonographic achievement of global proportions with four days of discussion, demonstration, films and other events from 11th to 14th January 2018.

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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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