Jah Shaka Memorial Event

Jah Shaka Memorial event poster

The Jah Shaka Memorial Event is scheduled for next Sunday the 22nd of October. It will provide one more chance to the UK and international sound system community to gather in honour of the late great Jah Shaka, who passed away on April 12, 2023, and whose Nine Night celebration was held at Goldsmiths.  

Part of the Windrush Generation, Jah Shaka came with his parents to the UK at a very early age and began his music career in the late 60s. Inspired spiritually by Rastafari, and politically by the American Civil Rights movement, he named his sound system after the great eighteenth-century Zulu king Shaka. By the late 1970s, Jah Shaka’s sound system had developed a cult following. This has eventually spread across the globe, with his unique style inspiring a whole generation of music producers, sound systems, and reggae fans around the world (read SST’s obituary for Jay Shaka at this link)

Organized by the Shaka Family and Culture Promotions, this event will celebrate the life and legacy of one of the most influential soundmen ever through ‘word, sound and power’, as he accustomed his audience to. Acts on the night include a sound system session from Jah Shaka’s son Young Warrior and live performances from the likes of the Twinkle Brothers and Mafia and Fluxy, plus special appearances from Megumi Mesaku, Earl Sixteen, Sister Audrey, Beat Alliance and more. Shaka visuals, exhibition and memories have also be announced. All proceeds will go to event costs and the Shaka Foundation. 

This event possibly holds even a stronger resonance given the tragic series of passings among the UK sound system elders in 2023, which just in the last few weeks includes the likes of Allan Rolle of Jah Youth the Roots Ambassador and Paul Ayton of Bristol-based Maasai Warrior sound system. 

The late great Allan Rolle aka Jah Youth the Roots Ambassador

The late great Paul Ayton of Maasai Warrior sound system

While the demise of the pioneer generation cannot be stopped, there is a lot that can be done to ensure that the knowledge, the history and the legacy of the elders is properly archived, preserved, and passed to the younger generation. This is key to keep sound system culture alive and healthy in the UK, as it has emerged from the open discussion held at Goldsmiths as part of SSSO#8. It will also help ensure that the younger multicultural crowd currently fuelling the sound system industry in Europe and elsewhere can acknowledge where this culture comes from and its wider cultural significance. This puts a huge responsibility on curators, academics, and cultural entrepreneurs who are active in the field of popular music and culture to direct their efforts towards the archiving and preservation of this heritage before it gets lost forever. 

The Jah Shaka memorial event will be held on Sunday, 22 Oct 2023 14:00 – 23:59 BST at E1 110 Pennington Street #Unit 2 London E1W 2BB – More info available at this link.

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