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Sound System Culture Tour Comes To Birmingham

The Drum Arts Centre in Birmingham will host an exhibition documenting reggae sound system culture.

Following on from its Bristol leg, the national Sound System Culture Tour will come to Birmingham’s Drum Arts Centre for a month, starting August 6. An impressive collection of photographs, audio recordings, archive film footage and other memorabilia will document Birmingham’s rich history of reggae sound system culture.

As part of the display, visitors will have an opportunity to interact with Heritage HiFi, a vintage-style sound system custom-built for the project, consisting of a record deck, amps, speaker boxes and various records including dub plates specially cut for the exhibition featuring sound bites from foundation Birmingham soundmen. The project also includes a colourful children’s picture book, The Sonar System by Ras Mykha, introducing young people to the world of sound system culture.

Curated by Mandeep Samra and David Schischka Thomas the exhibition aims to shed new light on an important part of UK history that has meant so much to so many people, yet has been largely overlooked by mainstream historians.

The tour was developed by Mandeep following the positive response to her 2013 project documenting the reggae sound systems of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

3. Wassifa sound crew, Handsworth Leisure Centre, Birmingham, circa 1983, courtesy Wassifa Photography

 Photo courtesy Wassifa collection

2. Studio City sound crew 1974, courtesy Lewis Fairfield

Photo courtesy Lewis Fairfield collection

4. Flyer - Jungleman, Papa Zion & Enforcer, Digbeth Civic Hall, Birmingham, courtesy Robbo Tread collection Photo courtesy Robbo Dread collection

Sound System Culture: Birmingham will run 6 August – 7 September at The Drum, 144 Potters Lane, Birmingham B6 4UU.