A La Jamaique explores the sound system Image

by Biko Kennedy

With the web-documentary 'À la Jamaïque' French musician, filmmaker, illustrator, director, producer and sound engineer Romain Chiffre, better known as Sherkhan, takes viewers through the ins and outs of the sound system lifestyle.

Following the King Tafari sound system – the official sound of Sizzla Kalonji – Sherkhan found out just how hectic and challenging the sound system operations can be.

From packing the equipments and making the necessary connections to the song selections throughout any given 'session' to the repacking of everything, the episode gave a fair representation of what the sound system lifestyle entails.

During our recent interview with legendary sound system operator and producer Winston 'Merritone' Blake of Merritone Music for our Behind the Music series, he explains that "First of all when we started playing music, which was the later of the 1950's, there was no Jamaican music." He continued by noting "It was strictly American Rhythm and Blues and Mento and the music that we danced to a lot also was in the form of swing which was like Jazz – Jazz in those days was swing music which was dance music," before giving an in-depth recollection of the very first sound system to play on the island.

See the Behind the Music episode (3) dubbed From Box to Bass here

Check out Episode 1 of the Behind the Music series

Check out Episode 2 of the Behind the Music series

Check out Episode 4 of the Behind the Music series

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