By its very nature, the dubplate – a personalised recording for a sound system or selector by a vocalist, should signify a connection of some sort between the person or entity whose name is being called and the person singing or deejaying it. However, in the aftermath of the second World Clash Dubplate Awards, Garfield ‘Chin’ Bourne of entertainment promotion outfit Irish and Chin is indicating that there is a gap which the awards are intended to close.
“The purpose of the awards is to recreate that connection which one existed between sound systems and artistes,” Chin said. The sound systems were integral to the process of selecting the winners, whose names were released recently. The eligibility period was November 2016 to September 2017. Among the winners were Aidonia (Dubplate Artiste of the Year and Dubplate Single of the Year for Banga), Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley (International Dubplate Artiste of the Year), Chronixx (Most Sought After Dubplate Artiste of the Year), Romain Virgo (Male Dubplate Vocalist of the Year) and Marcia Griffiths (Female Dubplate Vocalist of the Year).
Chin says that in a situation where many artistes now sidestep the sound systems and take their music directly to radio stations or send it out via Internet channels, the awards are intended to remind the vocalists that the sound systems are still relevant.
IMPORTANT ROLE IN CAREER
“I am hoping that when the artistes get their awards they will realise that the sound system still plays an important role in their career,” Chin said.
It is a far cry from sound systems helping to popularise Jamaican music in its earliest days when radio airplay was limited, or when there was synergy between sound systems and crews of artistes, such as Black Scorpio with General Trees, Killamanjaro with Ninja Man, King Jammy with Admiral Bailey, Stereo One with Lt Stitchie and Arrows with Chickenchest, which largely faded by the early 1990s. However, Chin points out that outside Jamaica, the sound system network still performs a broadcasting function in the absence of regular radio shows.
He says that there are radio shows in Jamaica, England, parts of the US, and Canada, among other major Caribbean immigrant centres, but demanded, “what about other places?”
It is the sound systems creating the demand. It is the sound man them in the clubs,” Chin said.