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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CAYA Sound in Bedford Town

Newly launched Caya Sound System is organising a dance in Bedford town on November 18th from 10 pm at Club Sixes. Caya Sound presented at Sound System Outernational 2 panel on Soundwomen alongside the amazing Legs Eleven and Feminine HiFi: if you missed it, you can see some of the talk here from about 16:30.

Guaranteed to be fire!

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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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 International – Schedule


Schedule Summary

Goldsmiths, Media Research Building (MRB), University of London, SE14 6NW, building 4 on

12.00 – 13.30 Session 1 (MRB Screen 1)

Plenary: Sound System Outernational – risks and opportunities – chair Brian D’Aquino

 13.30 14.30 Lunch

 14.30 – 16.00: Session 2 Workshops (to run in parallel):

 break 16.00 – 16.30

 16.30 – 18.00 Session 3 – Plenary: Soundwomen in the 21st Century (Screen 1) chair Leo Vidigal

18.00 – 19.30 Session 4 Workshops (to run in parallel)

Amersham Arms 338 New Cross Road, London SE14 6TY

19.45 – 21.15 Film showing with sound system sound

 21.30 – 03.00 Sound System Session


*** Exhibition & Installations: open all day in MRB Seminar Room 12, see end of schedule ****


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Weapon is my mouth


At Amersham Arms, 7.30PM

Sound System Outernational – July 2nd

“Weapon Is My Mouth” is conceived and made specifically a “danceable film.” It has to be experienced, appreciated and danced to within the environment of a sound-system session.

Projected between the speaker stacks it is a fusion of Expanded Cinema and dancehall experience – making the space one for the moment of thought as well as bodies.

The 52 min film is the product of an one-year research programme made at Goldsmiths by Brazilian scholar and soundman Leo Vidigal, in collaboration with filmmaker Delmar Mavignier.

Sound System Outernational 2



Sound System Outernational 2 is kicking off on Saturday the 2nd of July, 2016.

Sound System Outernational 2 is a special event with workshops, films, speakers and sound system sessions on Saturday 2nd July, 12 noon to 2am at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Amersham Arms. Located in SE London, a historic centre of the capital’s sound system culture, Outernational 2 brings together sound system men and women, younger and older, researchers and engineers, performers and industry professionals from across the UK and Brazil, Italy and Jamaica. This event follows the success of Outernational 1 in January this year, and


The unprecedented growth of sound system culture globally calls for debate and reflection if we are to make the most of its subversive and artistic potential. Sound System Outernational is a project committed to generating spaces where these discussions can take place, and with the amazing contributions we’ve received from a tremendous range of people, we’re set to do exactly that.

The mighty line-up of sound systems for the dance is now confirmed, with a couple of extra performances being added soon. We’re going to be announcing the symposium participants over the next few days, so stay tuned. Wake the town and tell the people!