Wed | May 22, 2019

Sound systems still alive - Irish and Chin says culture vibrant

Published:Saturday | June 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
Patrons react at the Boom All-Star sound clash at Skateland in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew on May 12.

The Irish and Chin World Clash series is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. And at a time when there are numerous concerns surrounding the depletion of sound systems across the Caribbean and the possible imminent death of sound clashes, Irish and Chin has stood tall and continues to represent the best of sound system culture.

Speaking with The Gleaner in a recent interview, Garfield 'Chin' Bourne, of Irish and Chin, explained just how they manage to remain relevant for more than two decades.

"I think that over the years, the major thing that keeps us going is the ability to reinvent ourselves. I feels like the main thing that we do is that we don't consider ourselves as promoters anymore, we are producers of the event," he said.

"As a producer, we go that extra mile to make sure that the show happens and that it is the best, and that it continues. Over the course of time we've been really good at producing our events. We put in the right people for the right reasons to do the right jobs and we bring everything together to give the crowd the ultimate experience in sound system culture."




He said that his team strives to keep the culture alive by keeping up to date with changes in the industry.

"We keep up to date with the rules of the game and we strive to keep things modernised. So, if there is something out there creating some type of excitement, we try to duplicate that in the clashes," he said.

Chin said that while sound system culture may be on the decline, at least on the local scene, he doesn't believe it's dead or dying.

"That commentary is mostly coming from Jamaica, because in Jamaica, technology has pretty much allowed the sound system [the physical sound itself] to not be as dominant as it used to be. Back in the early days of sound system culture, everybody represented themselves with the amps and speakers and horns and so on. Technology has kinda changed that where people can now walk with laptops, and so on. So in that sense there is some truth to the statements that sound systems are not needed as much as they used to be," he said.

"But if you take it out of Jamaica though, and you follow the Diaspora and you go to certain places like Japan and England there is still a place for sound system and the culture is very much alive. It's not like it used to be in the 80s because of technology but it's a lot more vibrant than in Jamaica."