Updated: Jan 30
Picture you, you and me, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, Picture you and me under the tree (I can't finish the rest of this! ) - Vybz Kartel - Picture This
In the early 2000s believe it or not, this simple tune was one of the biggest songs around at the time for us London youths who were attending secondary school during the late 90s early 2000s. Bashment which had progressed on from the more simple drum patterns and heavy basslines of Ragga used more complex and melodically driven instrumentals that ended up creating a whole scene and following for the genre. Where without a doubt, the biggest artist of this period was Vybez Kartel with his creative use of wordplay.
Black British culture of the '90s/ early 2000 period was heavily influenced by Caribbean music especially Jamaican music. Anytime you'd go to a rave or a shoobs as we'd call it back then, you were guaranteed to hear a DJ playing some type of bashment riddim (music). The minute the bashment section started and you'd see the dance floor fill with teens around my age at the time trying out the latest dance moves imported from Jamaica's vibrant dance scene at the time. Or... you'd catch a girl giving the wickedest whine to a guy while he'd hold her hips trying to hold on for dear life. The bashment dance culture wasn't for the faint-hearted I'd seen many a man crumble
Looking back on this period, it's crazy just how influential dancehall music was to London's young adults and teens. I wonder if Bogle R.I.P (Legendary Jamacian dance artist) knew at the time his creation of the Bogle dance would be practised by millions of teens all the way in the land of England.
I wonder if the early Caribbean’s who settled in London had any idea that later London generations from all types of nationalities and faiths would now use their greetings of Wha gwarn as a means for greeting their friends.
The sound system has always been an integral part of Caribbean culture and in bringing it overseas to the UK the Windrush generation had a strong connection to back home. Though at the time, they were not always warmly taken in by the natives of Great Britain and so had to carve out spaces for themselves. The sound system was paramount in them doing just that, as they weren’t just going to be seen they were going to be heard too.
When they played their sound systems the surroundings vibrated from deep baselines and songs of love, unity and overcoming Babylon. Giving a real representation of who they were and the land they came from.
Being Caribbean, rhythm is innate, the beat moves us, it speaks to us. Aunties swaying their waistlines to the basslines and uncles doing the two-step whilst holding to their hearts a bottle of rum for comfort. It was the sounds of reggae, ska and lovers' rock that kept them dancing all night long. Our ancestors used beats as a form of communication between villages. Now our sounds travel globally and are felt internationally.
Words from David Anglin and Serena Cecila
Our Dem Live A foreign event will highlight even more of these cultures and traditions, showing how from a place of minority these practices have become part of London's majority.
We would love your help in showcasing these cultures and so would love to hear your stories and see pictures or objects that represent your experiences of being Caribbean or Somalian in London.
If you have any questions about our Dem Live A Foreign please feel free to ask. And remember the wickedest whine ain't for the faint of heart.
Thanks to Nancy Wru Mua for pointing me to this video, this was definitely our era! To see the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR5trb297XI