Sound System Culture Jamaica & UK 1986–88

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Wayne Tippetts — Sound System Culture Jamaica & UK 1986–88

In 1986 I embarked on the first of many trips to Jamaica. The images published in this book form part of a wider collection of images taken of sound system culture both in Jamaica and in the UK over a 17-year period. Between 1993 and 2003 I lived and worked in Jamaica, teaching photography at Edna Manley College while continuing to work on a variety of photo projects and stories both in Jamaica and the UK, including my ‘Dancehall’ series.

It was at a ‘yard’ in the capital Kingston Jamaica on a hot and humid night, April 1986 that I took my initial photos; with a Leica and a handheld lamp (no flash) It was here that I truly first encountered Jamaican sound system culture and the nascent dancehall scene. I was instantly struck by the sheer exuberance and intensity of the songs, mixed with electronic dancehall beats and bass rhythms. From the mid 1980s on Thursday night’s deejays and singjays battled it out for supremacy, with fast-draw patios over pre-recorded ‘riddims’. The address was 1 Robert Crescent, home to Jamaican singer, producer Lincoln, Barrington "Sugar” Minott. Widely considered to be the godfather of dancehall. Minott’s Black Roots record label and Youth Promotions sound system was established in the Maxfield Park area of Kingston in 1979 - with a recording studio operated from a bedroom in the front the house.

My photographs have been exhibited in UK, Jamaica, New York, Australia and New Zealand, and a selection of my images are held in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

Wayne Tippetts

36 pages

Printed in England

Staple bound

14cm x 20cm