Review of Musically Mad- Francesca Perrone

2 December 2015

Once upon time, Hyson Green was musically mad....let's go back to that Da day!

"Musically Mad" is the title of the film screening shown last week at New Art Exchange. What do we already know about Reggae Sound System? What can we learn from this music? Which kind of considerations come across after having seen this film?

Reggae Sound System is more than a genre of music. Reggae music means identity, roots, love. Therefore, this music teaches us about Jamaicans and their history.

We can learn about their mythical and religious community identity, which is inside of the Rastafarian movement. Therefore, we can understand their constantly searching for a place where to identify their roots and thus their identity. Paying attention to some songs, it is mentioned the place of Jamaican roots, Shashamane in Ethiopia as well as the name of their God, the emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie.

When Jamaicans moved to Britain between '50s and '80s, they tried to find a way to generate their business in the UK. Initially, they work through Sound System by selling food. Reggae Sound System was also a way to advocate and promote their identity and culture in a country where they struggled to be part of it. Therefore, Jamaicans decided to build Sound System. It became an entertainment for the black community as well as a source of knowledge about what was going on in Jamaica.

In Nottingham, Hyson Green was musically mad. Full of blues parties in private houses, where Jamaicans used to go and forget any problem dancing all night long until the next day. They used to go straight away to work after having spent an entire night on the dance floor. Reggae Sound System was revolutionary, at that stage, because makes a real difference in people's life. Then people used to go to clubs to have a drink, relax, listen sound system and leave at home any worries or problems. However, this scenario changed when it became a problem for clubs allow people to smoke ganja. Originally ganja was the essence and vibe of this music, so its removal from Sound Systems means to change its content.

Reggae Sound System is hugely changed today. There is not anymore that deep and spiritual connection with the Rastafarian movement. Even though, in the UK there are a lot of Rastafarians, Sound System is massively computerized today. One of the reasons why there is no longer the habit to go to the record shop to catch the new copy among the few provided.

Even though Reggae Sound System is different in its aim and content, it has got still a strong vibe and passion today. Thus, let's keep dancing in Hyson Green, Nottingham, Jamaica and across the world to this incredible sound!!!!


- Francesca Perrone


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