Jah Shaka has died (RIP)
Renowned reggae/dub sound system operator Jah Shaka, the Zulu Warrior, originated from Clarendon Parish, Jamaica has flown to Zion. Since the early 1970s, he has been managing a South East London-based authentic Jamaican sound system known for its roots reggae. Jah Shaka’s name is a blend of the Rastafarian term for God and the Zulu king, Shaka Zulu.
Initially working as an operator on the Freddie Cloudburst Sound System, Jah Shaka later established his own system. In the late 1970s, his sound system garnered a strong and devoted fan base due to his invigorating high-energy riddims, massive sonority, dynamic personal style, and spiritual content. Among his fans were notable post-punk pioneers like Public Image Ltd and The Slits. In 1980, Shaka portrayed himself in the movie Babylon, where he operated his Sound System in a soundclash that climaxed the story.
While other Sound Systems in the 1980s veered towards the Jamaican trend of playing non-traditional styles with a focus on slack dancehall music, Shaka remained committed to his unique spiritual and musical approach. He even released music from well-known Jamaican artists like Max Romeo, Johnny Clarke, Bim Sherman, and Prince Alla on his record label, as well as UK groups including Aswad and Dread & Fred. In addition, Shaka released several dub albums, often under the title “Commandments of Dub”.
In honour of Jah Shaka, Ray Hurford & Colin Moore’s 1990 interview with the great Zulu Warrior will be soon posted on this site.