The Bristol sound is typically associated with the emergence of trip hop and drum and bass. However what has arguably been overlooked is its incredible sound system culture that characterised later scenes and influences. For example, the city’s defining relationship with reggae and dub music.
Following World War Two, the established definition of ‘culture’ was revived. Following waves of immigration, particularly from the Caribbean, new influences and sounds began to emerge. Significantly, the sound system culture (a vital part of Jamaican history) was embraced, bringing with it a new wealth of reggae, roots and ska music. The concept involves a group of DJs with a generator, turntables and speakers often set up in the street or at dances. Many migrants settled in particular areas of Bristol such as St Pauls and Easton. In this way, it had a huge impact on bringing together different people from different communities.
Bristol is definitely a city that soaks up different cultures and interests, and the effect of the soundsystem culture is evident in Bristol’s music scene today. It is diverse but exciting, with genres such as reggae playing a fundamental part. Dedicated reggae club nights at places such as Cosies and The Black Swan demonstrate this. The playlist below features some of Bristol’s best reggae artists, celebrating the city’s relationship with the genre. Listen to it in full here.
1.) Revelation Rockers- Culture
2) Talisman- Dole Age 7” Mix
3) Smith & Mighty – Time to Rhyme (ft. The General)
4.) Bunny Marrett – Times Are Getting Harder
5.) 3D Production- Riot
6.) Zion Band- Twelve Tribes
Mollie Chandler, Music Columnist.