Jah Shaka Sound System

Shaka, for those who know their history, is the name of the African Warrior ‘King of the Zulus’. For those who know their reggae it is the name of the undisputed king of the sound system.

His apprenticeship was with Freddie Cloudburst during the 1970’s which started off what has proved to be the most incredible cultural journey in British reggae history. Right from the beginning he was preaching how sound-system was the true medium of the people, capable of passing on vital messages unable to be heard anywhere else. Providing more entertainment for hordes of weekend revellers never came into it. Reggae sound-system on Shaka’s terms meant something entirely different. Music had a role to play in the local community; it could act as a teacher, news carrier, historian and liberator of oppressed souls and his dedication to fulfilling all and more of these social functions has never wavered.

H.I.M. Shaka’s sound was built back in the black consciousness era, and was formed as a vehicle for promoting messages relating to the black struggle. Following his musical source all the way back to Africa, he established the Jah Shaka Foundation to carry out assistance with projects in Jamaica, Ethiopia, and Ghana where the foundation has bought seven acres of land in Agri, thirty miles outside of Accra. It has also managed to distribute medical supplies, wheelchairs, library books, carpentry tools, drawing materials (and of course records) to clinics, schools and Radio stations in the Accra area establishing important links with the local communities, and his work continues…

Text edited from “On Firm Foundation”, Jon Masouri, Echoes


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