Bid to revive reggae dancehall culture

Paying tribute: Junior C (second left) presents Dub City owner Kent Outerbridge with an award honoring his enormous contribution to the local reggae scene at the Legends Bob Marley Tribute Concert at BAA Gymnasium two weeks ago

What began as a group chat on social media has evolved into a fully blown movement to revive the reggae dancehall culture in Bermuda.

Local reggae artist Junior C, whose song Murderer reached number four on the New York billboard charts, started the discussion about a month ago and from that has sprung many proposals to bring the culture back into the limelight.

He said as many as 90 per cent of the sound systems in Bermuda had joined the discussion on WhatsApp, titled “Sound Boys for Life”.

“It was something that I started about a month ago from out of the blue,” Junior C said. “I just wanted to bring all of the sounds together because the dancehall culture in Bermuda is dying.

“I thought we could bring everyone together and chat in that forum and then out of that came a meeting, so we had our first meeting and the guys got their ideas together and hashed out a lot of different proposals.”

One of those proposals, from Prophesy Sound owner and DJ Tori “Luffy” Henry, was to stage a dancehall featuring all of the Island’s reggae sound systems, which will become a reality today when Devonshire Recreation Club hosts the “Oneness Junior C Birthday” dancehall extravaganza.

“My brethren ‘Luffy’ Mr Henry came up with the idea to have a oneness dance, where all the sounds string up and play and we put on our best for the people to save the dancehall culture,” Junior C said.

“We want to show the younger people how it used to be and we have 90 per cent of the sound systems in Bermuda both old and new.

“We have a sound that has been out for one year, called “One Life Sound”, and then we have the old-school sounds like Magnum Force, Spanish Town and Souljah One. We will have about a good 40 sounds featured. It’s going to be a big thing.”

Junior C and other local artists, including Ninja Cutty and Daddy Ranksie, will showcase their musical talents at the event.

“It’s like an invitation to everybody from back in the day and even the younger ones to come up and perform,” said Junior C, who has released three albums and 13 singles on two separate labels, including local label Dub City Records.

At the Legends Bob Marley Tribute Concert, held at the Bermuda Athletic Association Gymnasium two weeks ago, Junior C honoured promoter and Dub City owner Kent Outerbridge for his contributions to reggae music in Bermuda.

The tribute was another proposal hatched at the meeting, which was attended by owners of the Island’s various reggae sound systems.

“Dub Mr Outerbridge was the ambassador for reggae in Bermuda,” said Junior C, whose real name is Carlton Welch. “He is the man that pretty much set the pace and devoted most of his life.”

n Tonight’s event is free for ladies and $10 for men at the door, which opens at 10pm.

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