November 18, 2015 | 0 Comments
I’ll be giving a tour of the In Fine Style exhibition this Saturday at midday at New Art Exchange, Nottingham. Entry is free and all are welcome.
More info here.
November 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
As illustrator of some of my favourite LP covers, I have always wanted to produce a book on the Jamaican graphic artist Wilfred Limonious (1949–99). So in 2010, shortly after finishing a project on the album cover artwork of Greensleeves Records (focussing on the early work of another legendary reggae sleeve designer, Tony McDermott) I began some preliminary research.
As is the case with many reggae album cover artists, there wasn’t much factual information about Limonious online, apart from one great blog, called In Fine Style. Reading through the posts I realised that the blog’s author, Chris Bateman, had already done a lot of the things I was considering, having been to Jamaica to meet Limonious’s family, friends and associates. So I contacted Chris to see if he was interested in collaborating on a book.
Thankfully he was, and five years later, we’re almost done!
At 272 pages, In Fine Style: the Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious is the result of years of research, numerous interviews and the unearthing of some great previously unseen material. It includes a wonderful foreword from Beth Lesser, as well as contributions from Orville “Bagga” Case (Jamaican designer), Dr Donna P Hope (University of the West Indies), Steve Barrow, Diplo and many others.
In anticipation of the book, which will be published early next year on my imprint, One Love Books, we have curated an exhibition of Limonious’ work, which launches at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham this Saturday 7 November at 3pm running until 3 January 2016 before travelling to various galleries around the UK (including additional programming at the V&A and Goldsmiths College). In addition to Limonious’ illustrations for the Jamaican music industry, the exhibition includes his comic strips for the Jamaican newspapers, as well as his work for JAMAL, the island’s national literacy programme, and examples of modern-day work that has taken inspiration from his unique style.
There should be some photos to post after the weekend but for now here’s a sneak peak of some items from the show.
Grass Root comic strip from the Weekend Enquirer, 1991. (Courtesy the National Library of Jamaica and Mark Ricketts, © 2015 Weekend Enquirer)
Cover illustration for the book Nanny (JAMAL Foundation, c 1977), about the Jamaican national hero, Nanny of the Maroons. (Courtesy the National Library of Jamaica, © 2015 JFLL)
Back cover illustration for the LP Tidal Wave by Frankie Paul (Power House, 1985).
Mock-up conveying positional information to the printer for the Phillip Frazer LP, Classic (Reggae Master, c 1993). (Courtesy Deadly Dragon collection)
Promotional poster for the VHS release of Champions in Action, Live at Fort Clarence (Sonic Sounds, 1992).
Seven-inch sleeve designed by Limonious for Charles Morgan’s Outernational Records, 1996.
One section of the exhibition features new works that have taken inspiration from Limonious, including a couple of episodes of the great Cabbie Chronicles by Alcyone Animation, Jamaica.
In Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious launches on Saturday 7 November at New Art Exchange, 39–41 Gregory Blvd, Nottingham NG7 6BE, alongside SCRATCH: Record + Craft Fair which features DJs, craft and zine sellers, interactive screen printing demonstrations, live illustration, a mini-amp building workshop and a talk describing how records are made. The exhibition coincides with New Art Exchange’s exhibition, Sound Systems Back in Da Day, which explores sound system culture in Britain from the 1960s to the 1980s.
October 17, 2015 | 0 Comments
Clarks in Jamaica the album, the soundtrack to the book, is out now on Greensleeves Records (CD and LP). The selection is strictly old school – twenty-one reggae and dancehall tunes that mention Clarks shoes from artists including Supercat, Dillinger, Little John, Trinity, Ranking Joe, Early B and Eek-A-Mouse. So if you’re expecting Vybz Kartel, Popcaan and Gaza Slim you’ll have to wait for part two!
A big thank you to Chris O’Brien and Frenchie for supporting this album and pushing for it to happen.
Cover photo © Mark Read
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When the Quaker brothers, Cyrus and James Clark, began making sheepskin slippers in the sleepy English village of Street, Somerset in the late 1820s, they could never have imagined how popular their footwear would one day become on the faraway island of Jamaica. For in time, Jamaican people grew to love Clarks shoes more than anyone else. So much so, that it could be argued that no country Read more
October 8, 2015 | 1 Comment
Following on from the talk at the V&A, I will be speaking about Clarks in Jamaica at Nottingham University as part of their Black History Month programme. Limited quantities of Clarks in Jamaica books and pre-release CDs will be available on the night. More info here.
August 12, 2015 | 0 Comments
I’ll be discussing the Jamaican love for Clarks shoes at the V&A this Friday 14 August with Paul Gilroy, Bunny “Striker” Lee and Lance Clark, one of a series of talks around the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition on display until January 2016. The event starts at 7pm in the Lydia and Manfred Gorvy lecture theatre and concludes with a set of Clarks tunes that I’ll be spinning in the main entrance.
On the night and for a limited time there will be signed copies of the last remaining stock of the Clarks in Jamaica book available from the V&A shop, as well as posters, picture discs and advance copies of a new Clarks in Jamaica CD due for release on Greensleeves in early October. Tickets for the talk are available here.
May 14, 2015 | 1 Comment
Sound System Culture: Bristol is a new exhibition charting the history of reggae sound systems in Bristol, on display at Colston Hall from 8 June – 17 July 2015. The exhibition, curated by Al Fingers and Mandeep Samra, is part of a national tour documenting reggae sound system culture in Britain, which launched in Huddersfield in 2013 and is set to continue in Birmingham in August and London in February 2016.
Celebrating an important but often overlooked part of UK music culture through photographs, old flyers, audio and film footage, the exhibition includes Heritage HiFi, a vintage-style sound system built for the project, which visitors can interact with, playing records as well as a specially cut dubplate featuring soundbites from various people involved in the Bristol scene: Jabulani Ngozi (Tarzan the High Priest/Imperial Force), Arthur Anderson (Apollo/Jah Lokko), Tony Bullimore (Bamboo Club), Big Roy (Sir Jay), Snoopy (Jah Lokko), Ajax (Ajax blues), Daddy Roots (Aba Shanti/I Roots), Tony Francis (Loveline), Monk (Enterprise), Ferdie (Sir Jay), Faada Soljie (Qualitex) and Tappa (Sir Bastian/Bassi).
The project also includes a children’s picture book, The Sonar System, introducing young people to the world of sound system culture, and a live sound system event, the Roots Revival Showcase on 27 June, featuring Bristol’s heavyweight sounds of the 1980s: Sir Bastian, Enterprise Imperial HiFi and Jah Lokko.
The exhibition launch event is on Saturday 13 June, featuring short DJ sets from selectors Big Roy (Sir Jay), Bagga Brown (Raiders 32), Conroy (Alpha & Omega), Soljie (Qualitex), Froggy (Excalibur) and Daddy Roots (I Roots).
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Sound System Culture: Bristol exhibition and sound installation
8 June–17 July 2015
The Glass Room, Colston Hall, Bristol BS1 5AR
Opening times: Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 2pm–4pm
Sound System Culture: Bristol exhibition launch event
Saturday 13 June 2015, 2pm–4pm
The Glass Room, Colston Hall, Bristol BS1 5AR
For further info: http://www.facebook.com/events/629429537190641
Roots Revival Showcase with Bristol heavyweights Sir Bastian, Enterprise & Jah Lokko
Saturday 27 June 2015, 10pm–3am
Malcolm X Centre, 141 City Road, Bristol BS2 8YH
For further info: http://www.facebook.com/events/690048074458126
Foundation Bristol soundman, Karl “Sebastian” Smith, with his December 1966 membership card for the Bamboo club, one of the UK’s first clubs to serve the West Indian community. Photo © Al “Fingers” Newman
Flyer for a Leroy Smart concert at the Bamboo Club, 25 Feb 1977, with support from London-based sound system Count Shelly and Bamboo Club selector, DJ Hank AKA Hank’s HiFi. Courtesy Donovan Jackson collection
Enterprise Imperial HiFi and friends, circa 1977. Founded in 1975, Enterprise became one of Bristol’s most popular sound systems. Photographer unknown, courtesy Michael House collection
Lionpulse sound system, founded in 2013 by General H and Live&Direk – part of a new wave of Bristol sounds. Photo © Gary Thomas
Alpha & Omega sound system on St Nicholas Road by the Crystal Dove night club, St Pauls Carnival, July 1991. Photo © Mark Simmons Photography
February 24, 2015 | 0 Comments
January 29, 2015 | 0 Comments
November 18, 2014 | 0 Comments
The next screening of Mandy Samra’s Sound System Culture documentary will be on Wednesday 10th December 2014 at David Katz’s Dub Me Always night, upstairs at the Ritzy in Brixton. Screening starts at 8pm. Entry is free.
October 31, 2014 | 0 Comments
September 19, 2014 | 0 Comments
The next screening of Mandeep Samra’s Sound System Culture documentary will be at Tighten Up on Saturday 4 October, with books for sale on the night and tunes from Al Fingers alongside Tighten Up crew. Film starts at 9pm.
September 18, 2014 | 0 Comments
August 6, 2014 | 0 Comments
Bun & Cheese is a new night of 80s and 90s reggae and dancehall at Shutterbug in Shoreditch, with residents Charlie Dark and Al Fingers playing strictly vinyl from 8 til 1am. Launching with a pre-carnival warmup on Friday 22nd August, the night will continue on every last Friday of the month. Entry is free, so dust off your mesh marina, Farah pants and Clarks bootee and we’ll see you on the dance floor.
Bun & Cheese, every last Friday of the month, 8 til 1am @ Shutterbug, 1 Rivington Pl, London EC2A 3BA
July 24, 2014 | 0 Comments
Official book launch tonight (24 July) at Rough Trade East, Shoreditch, with a screening of the Sound System Culture documentary, followed by DJ sets from Toddla T, Don Letts and Al Fingers.
More info here.
June 2, 2014 | 1 Comment
Sound System Culture, Celebrating Huddersfield’s Sound Systems, a new book published as part of Mandy Samra’s Sound System Culture project, is out next month on One Love Books, with prerelease copies available here. Written by Paul Huxtable, who operates Axis sound system out of Huddersfield, and edited and designed by myself, the book documents an important chapter in the history of UK sound systems.
Produced alongside a touring exhibition and documentary.
January 23, 2014 | 1 Comment
This week, to mark the launch of an exhibition of photographs by William S Burroughs, Gautam Malkani wrote an interesting piece for the Financial Times linking Burroughs’ “cut-up” techniques to modern day mashup and digital remix culture. Al met Gautam at The Photographer’s Gallery to preview the show and test out his theories. Read the full article here.
August 9, 2013 | 0 Comments
Diggin’ Greensleeves is a new mix CD by the Japanese “King of Diggin”, DJ Muro, featuring his pick of the Greensleeves back catalogue (recorded from his extensive vinyl collection) as well as dubs from Johnny Osbourne and Ranking Joe. It will be released on AWDR/LR2 on 18 September alongside a limited edition seven-inch of Johnny Osbourne’s “Ice Cream Love” b/w Toyan’s “Children Children”.
The striking cover art is by Novol, who took inspiration from two early Greensleeves LP covers illustrated by the artist/engineer/producer, Paul “Groucho” Smykle: Weakheart Fadeaway by Ranking Joe (1978) and Goldmine Dub by The Revolutionaries (1979).
The second Greensleeves LP, Weakheart Fadeaway by Ranking Joe (1978). Illustration: Paul “Groucho” Smykle.
The fourth Greensleeves LP, Goldmine Dub by the Revolutionaries (1979). Illustration: Paul “Groucho” Smykle.
Limited edition seven-inch released for the project, featuring original Greensleeves label artwork and Uxbridge Road address.
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See also Greensleeves The First 10 Years.
August 2, 2013 | 0 Comments
Having tried in vain to track down the dancehall poster don, Denzil “Sassafras” Naar, I began to wonder whether he was still alive. But his recent collaboration with Japanese apparel brand Rice & Peas shows that, thankfully, he is!
Using new Sassa illustrations, Rice & Peas (part of Tokyo-based 24×7 Records) have produced a dope selection of tees, totes, mugs and other bits, currently only available at the 24×7 online store and a few select shops across Japan.
See also the Rice & Peas Tony McDermott tee from a couple of years ago.
June 18, 2013 | 0 Comments
Photo: Pierre Mahieu
Launching at La Gaîté Lyrique gallery, Paris this Friday, Say Watt? The Cult Of The Sound System is a new exhibition celebrating the culture and history of the soundsystem, from its origins in Jamaica to its adoption and adaptation around the world. Exhibits include Lick it Back‘s restored King Tubby‘s Hometown Hi-Fi speaker boxes, photographs by Beth Lesser and Lyle Owerko, and the album jacket and poster artwork of Jamaican artists, Wilfred Limonious and Denzil “Sassafras” Naar (both of whom featured recently in the Art in the Dancehall exhibition). The Limonious pieces are from the collection of Chris Bateman, author of the authoritative Limonious blog, In Fine Style, as well as a forthcoming book on the artist’s life and work entitled In Fine Style, the Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious, due for release in early 2014 on One Love Books.
Say Watt? is curated by Seb Carayol and runs from 21 June–25 August 2013 at La Gaîté Lyrique, 3 Bis, Rue Papin, 75003 Paris.
Note >> The gallery has acquired a few copies of the now-hard-to-find Greensleeves The First 100 Covers book I did for Stüssy a few years ago, and are also stocking copies of Clarks in Jamaica, so if you’re in Paris and have been trying to get hold of either of those books, drop by.
IKEA Soundsystem, David Renault, 2012. Photo: Mathieu Tremblin
From the series, “Mic Men”. Photo: Alex Smailes
From the series, “Last Dance in Notting Hill”. Photo: Patrick Gherdoussi
Squeeeque!, Alexis O’Hara, 2009–13. Photo: conception-photo.com
March 3, 2013 | 0 Comments
For this year’s Record Store Day (20/04/13), and to celebrate the publication of Clarks in Jamaica, Greensleeves Records are releasing a ten-inch picture disc in the shape of a desert boot, featuring a Clarks-themed tune on either side: Little John’s Clarks anthem “Clarks Booty” (1985) b/w Errol Scorcher’s “Put On Me Clarks” (1980). The picture used for the disc, shot for the book by the master Pete Canning, is of the Jamaica Black desert boot, first released by Clarks North America in 2007.
This will be a limited pressing, so if you see it, grab it. The disc will also be included in one of fifty Clarks in Jamaica box sets, available soon.