Five Star Review

Jah Shaka Meets Aswad in Addis Ababa Studio

Unbelievable: Jah Shaka aka "The Zulu Warrior", one of reggae's most enigmatic artists, producers and pioneers and Dub, the spearhead of London sound system culture is dead. He (presumably) died on 12.04.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX. His precise age and cause of death were not disclosed.
Jah Shaka, whose real name is not yet known, was already an icon in his lifetime. He was born in Chapleton, Clarendon Parish in Jamaica. As a child he came to London with his parents in 1956 as part of the Windrush generation. For him and his contemporaries, music has always been an important tool to compensate for the hostile, racist environment in which they found themselves. In 1962 he founded a reggae band with a few school friends. In the late 1960s he joined local sound system Freddie Cloudburst which led him into the music industry.

Inspired by the Rastafarian and US civil rights movements, Jah Shaka soon founded his own sound system. A key moment was when he faced Lloyd Coxsone in a clash in 1976, one of the hottest sound systems in England at the time. It ended with Coxsone realizing he lost and abandoning the dance. The Jah Shaka sound system was the most respected sound system outside of Jamaica just a few years after its inception. Later, well-known personalities of the London reggae scene, such as Earl Sixteen or Yabby You, regularly appeared at Jah Shaka's dances.

At the end of the 1970s, Shaka started his own label, on which he released his own productions from the early 1980s, such as the "Commandments of Dub" Series. Over time, several collaborations with well-known British artists such as Aswad and Mad Professor emerged, but some of them appeared on other labels. There were also recordings with Horace Andy, Max Romeo and the Twinkle Brothers. He traveled to Jamaica several times and produced there in King Tubby's legendary studio in Waterhouse or in Gussie Clarke's Music Works Studio with veterans such as Willie Williams and Max Romeo, but also with young musicians such as Icho Candy.

In the 1980s, Jah Shaka was actually off the mainstream as the trend was towards digital sounds and slackness. While his sound system featured a single turntable next to the mixer, Shaka, as a Rastafarian, stuck undeterred to his "Roots and Culture" program. In addition to socially critical concerns, he has always taken up spiritual themes of the Rasta culture, accompanied by thundering bass and monotonous, hypnotic sounds, with which he put his audience in a trance-like state. His dances developed a mystical atmosphere right from the start, which often seemed more like religious or political events to the audience than usual party events. Jah Shaka's understanding of music has always been spiritual.

Many British Dub-Artists were inspired by Jah Shaka, such as the Disciples, but also the Slits. Overall, Jah Shaka developed a major musical influence on the whole of Britain Dub and especially on the development of Jungle and Drum & Bass.

In a house fire in 2000, Shaka was seriously injured and was out of action for a long time. After that, strong as ever, he resumed his live performances, touring regularly in the UK and occasionally elsewhere in Europe, the US or Japan.

Jah Shaka supported various social projects in Jamaica and Ghana, such as schools, hospitals and youth soccer teams, and was active until his death. Just a few days ago he announced his tour dates for this year. He wanted to perform in a few London clubs and music festivals in the UK. In addition, he wanted to tour Japan for his many Japanese fans.

Actually, I just wanted to "Comments of Dub Chapter Two(Jah Shaka Music). Then the relevant streaming services put a big spanner in the works. However, I am very sure that "Jah Shaka meets Aswad at Addis Ababa Studio“ (Jah Shaka Music) is a first-rate album that hits your nerve. This set was released in 1985, the same year that a Prince Jammy's computerized "Sleng Teng" riddim swept across Jamaica and reggae was never the same again. In England, "Jah Shaka meets Aswad" was a smash hit and made it onto the UK Reggae Charts.
This 7-track album, just under 30 minutes long, was recorded and composed by Aswad. It was produced, arranged and mixed by Jah Shaka. Brilliant 30 minutes of magic presenting Aswad in peak form before their pop reggae era. From "Addis Ababa" to "Shaka Special" or "Rockers Delight", it's the compositions based on monotonous, powerful bass lines, drums and keyboards that make up the strength of this album and especially Jah Shaka's very own sound. Every track takes you along. The drum Dub' is a version of the Studio One classic 'Drum Song', originally written by Jackie Mittoo, and the 'Aswad Special' is Augustus Pablo's 'Cassava Piece', which is better known as 'King Tubby meets Rockers Uptown'.

Jah Shaka, you mixing desk magician, sociocultural grassroots worker and creative echo chambersman, rest in peace.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

6 responses to “Jah Shaka Meets Aswad in Addis Ababa Studio”

Rest In Peace JAH SHAKA...

I don't know if it's ok to write the unqualified truth in an obituary. Part of my truth is that I'm not one of the biggest Jah Shaka fans here on earth. (Actually, I don't feel like writing this, let alone sending it, but it's part of my belief that Jah Shaka now knows how to get to his "definition of DubMusic” stand or have stood ). Somehow I wasn't quite satisfied with his effects and his sound. It was probably different with my buddy (RIP), because he inherited a lot from Jah Shaka. This also included discs from the series “Commantments Of Dub“ ! But for me, “JAH SHAKA Meets ASAWAD in Addis Ababa Studio” is the best JAH SHAKA record I know.
Here one could argue again, whether there is one at all Dubdisc is, because at least I don't know of any previous vocal album. Still, it sounds perfect to me DubMusic!
Unfortunately, I've never experienced a live performance by JAH SHAKA, so I didn't notice anything about the magic that emanated from him and his dances. It's all the worse because he even played live and direct at a SummerJam in Cologne without me noticing anything. It would have fascinated me just how he bridges the breaks that inevitably arise when you only have or want to use a record player.
Now it's too late for me. (It's your own fault lemmi, you had your chance and didn't recognize it).

Greetings…………………… lemmi

Hi Lemmy
I'm currently playing "Jah Shaka meets Pepper - In Addis Ababa Studio's" (1985) and "Junior Brown - Fly Me Away Home (Jah Shaka Music, mit Dub-Versionen vom Zulu Warrior)” (1984) very regularly, both classic showcase albums, so genuine Dub, which I personally like very much... I also find many other LPs rather moderate, I understand you...

I often still feel a bit bad for days anyway if I don't just spread good vibes. Maybe I should keep my “truths” to myself a little more.
Your examples could cause me to delete or heavily edit my condolence comment.
I didn't know JAH Shaka meets Pepper. The sound isn't one of my favorites either, but the album is as Roots and Dub just top.
The Junior Brown disc sounds almost like Mad Professor to me. The two were probably good friends too and it wouldn't be the first or only collaboration.
( I'm probably wrong, but again I couldn't "censor" my thoughts on this )

It's good that we talked about it again ……………. lemmi

I'm afraid I'm still wrong. But I found the album "Fly Me Away" now. That sounds zero point zero like Mad Professor to me too.
What I found this morning was this one :

That sounds – to me – at least very much like Ariwa Sound or Mad Professor (but without BassFurz and that makes me skeptical whether my association with Mad Professor is tenable).

Nice up the dance …………………. lemmi

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