Saxon Studio International – Saxon Soundsystem – ‘Live Inna Jamaica 1987’

Over the last twelve months especially, sound system culture has been progressively working it’s way in to our day-to-day doings, much knowledge sharing, and big-ups those who’ve stepped up to teach. We came at the sound system side of things well late, and from a proper outsiders perspective, not even close to catching up, but it’s all about the journey anyway.

Been wanting to share this one for a minute, though we don’t have the original DVD ourselves, and seriously hope we’re not stepping on any toes. Saxon Studio International or Saxon Soundsystem – whichever way you call it – has been in existence as a London based soundsystem since the early ’80s. With Papa Levi, Smiley Culture, Peter King, Tippa Irie and Maxi Priest being some of the names to have come up through it at the time, Saxon was quickly cemented as an institution in it’s own right.Over the years Saxon became one of the best known clash systems, travelling the world to do so and pioneering the fast-chat MC style along the while. Unlike the London soundsystem’s of the ’50s, Saxon represented a sense of evolution in the Jamaican culture’s melting with London. Never forgetting their roots, Saxon was among the first London systems to start really forging their own path that was as equally influenced by life in the UK as the roots laid down by the Kingston originators.

In some ways, that’s what makes the below video something special. For them to be able to travel to Jamaica, and lay down their sound in 1987 is something special. And 26 years later they’re still playing Notting Hill Carnival with the likes of Damian Marley, Wayne Marshall and Black Am I stepping up on to microphone.

It may not seem like the easiest 90 minutes of video to watch, but it’s worth the time, even if you just stream it in the background. Skip to around 49 minutes for some proper culture vibes coming together.