51st State Festival has arrived on Spotify, bringing music from all our stages to you in specially curated playlists in the run up to the festival.
First up, we have a very specially playlist lovingly composed by our friends over at Channel One Sound System, one of the world’s best known and greatest dub reggae sound systems.
Run by legendary selector Mikey Dread, Channel One’s unique sound has infiltrated Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Turkey and Europe, breaking down barriers and building a diverse fan base. The name is inspired by the legendary Jamaican record label Channel One, whose tracks featured heavily in Mikey Dread’s selections at local parties in the late 70s and early 80s. Since those early days, Mikey has continued Bob Marley’s belief in uniting people through reggae music by playing at venues and festivals across the world. The duo have even been Notting Hill Carnival residents for over 30 years.
It’s not just their music which demands legendary status, but also the system on which they play it. Their custom, hand-built stacks provide a rich sound from a single vinyl deck. Mikey’s deep draws are complemented by MC Ras Kayleb’s Rastafarian chants, through their tight selection of old and new dub reggae classics, with the best included on this very playlist.
Reggae was first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960. The term was derived from the Jamaican phrase ‘rege-rege’ meaning ‘rags’ and the raggedy style of the music developing on the Caribbean island at that time. It brings together traditional Jamaican Mento with American Rhythm & Blues, which reached the island via high powered radio stations in Florida in the early days of radio. Derived from Ska and Rocksteady, it is recognisable by its heavy backbeat rhythm. ‘Sound systems’ developed across the island in the 50s and 60s, replacing bands at local parties. The ‘selectors’, or disk jockeys, at these eccentric travelling dance-halls became the real entertainers, ‘toasting’ over the records with rhyming vocal patterns and social commentary.
So sit back, relax and turn your stereo up. This playlist is not only an education in the best of dub reggae but an excuse to veg out and enjoy the weekend vibes.