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Dub Talks! headlines Reggae University at Rototam Sunsplash 2018

Published:Wednesday | August 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Gussie Clarke at Rototom Sunsplash currently under way in Benicàssim, Spain.
Gussie Clarke premiered Dub Talk at Rototom Sunsplash 2018.

During Rototom Sunsplash's Reggae University 2018, reggae impresario Gussie Clarke led a panel discussion titled 'Dub Evolution - Dub's Past, Present and Future', focusing on the release of his Dub Anthology - a box set of over 70 dub recordings.

The veteran producer was recruited to engage with the audience about the history - the present, and later on, the future of reggae, during the music festival which is currently under way in Benicassim, Spain. This discussion followed the world premiere screening of Dub Talks! - a 57-minute-long video component of the anthology. The film itself takes the form of a panel discussion guided by Clarke, media professional and poet Mutabaruka and Professor Carolyn Cooper. Clarke also shared the table with Julian Henriques of Goldsmiths University of London, Sevi of Barcelona's Greenlight Sound System, and MC Oliva of France's Blackboard Jungle.

"It was extremely well received, informative and it was good to hear from Jamaica, and not foreigners talking about Jamaica," Clarke told The Gleaner from Spain.

The film encapsulates the voices of original toastmasters, sound system engineers and others who were privy to the accidental discoveries that defined Jamaican music forms - including the likes of U Roy, Flabba Holt, Bongo Herman, Finga Man, engineers Sylvan Morris and Soulgie Hamilton, among others. The captured conversations are meant to outlay the foundation of dub, and explore how it became one of the world's most popular musical styles.

Attending Rototom SunSplash for the first time, Clarke said that he was surrounded by Jamaicans. His description of the festival's ambience is that it is steeped in authentic drum and bass-heavy vibes. "When you come inside here, it's 100 per cent reggae music, I don't hear any foreign music," he expressed.

He continued, "The thing is, Jamaicans need to have greater appreciation of our music. We lose ska, we lose dub. Over here, it's marketed; it's an art form that has evolved into its own industry - and they are doing 1000 per cent better than we are doing. People need to come and see the love and respect they have for our music."

Rototom Sunsplash runs from August 16: 22, and Beres Hammond, Kabaka Pyramid, reggae music academic Dr Donna Hope and rising starlet Koffee are some of the faces Clarke recalls seeing on the ground.

Jimmy Cliff, Spice, Samory I, Kabaka Pyramid, King Jammy, Konshens, Julian Marley, Cocoa Tea, Andrew Tosh, Protoje, Tarrus Riley with Dean Fraser, and Sly & Robbie featuring Yellowman, are some of the acts slated to perform.