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Jah Shaka, dub and sound system culture pioneer, has died

Tributes have been paid to the inimitable sound system operator, record label boss and producer also known as the Zulu Warrior

Jah Shaka
Source: Facebook

Jah Shaka, the legendary dub and sound system culture pioneer, has died.

While no official statement has been made as yet, friends, fans and peers have been paying tribute on social media to the inimitable sound system operator, record label boss and producer also known as the Zulu Warrior.

Born in Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, Jah Shaka relocated to south-east London as a teenager with his family in 1956, arriving in the UK as part of the Windrush generation.

He cut his teeth under local sound system operator Freddie Cloudburst, and by the late 1970s, had his world-famous Shaka System up and running, cultivating a following including many post-punk artists of the era. The Jah Shaka Sound System went on to tour the world in subsequent decades.

In 1980, Shaka played himself in the Franco Rosso-directed film Babylon, while that same year saw the launch of his Jah Shaka Music label with the ‘Jah Children Cry’ reggae release by African Princess. He collaborated with Mad Professor on 1984's 'Jah Shaka Meets Mad Professor at Ariwa Sounds', and 1996's 'New Decade Of Dub'.

The label put out releases by numerous Jamaican artists such as Max Romeo and UK groups such as Aswad and Dread & Fred, while also issuing a string of dub releases as Commandments of Dub, starting with the first volume in 1990.

In 2009, Greensleeves Records issued a compilation of roots reggae cuts selected by Jah Shaka, title 'Jah Shaka Presents the Positive Message'.

In 1992, he set up the Jah Shaka Foundation with projects in Jamaica, Ethiopia, and Ghana.

Read a selection of tributes to Jah Shaka below, and watch footage of him performing at The Cause in Tottenham in 2021.