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Legendary Sound Systems at Rototom Sunsplash 2015!!

By June 29, 2015Articles, blog, Events, Festivals
2015 Rototom Sunsplash- Island Stage Magazine

The XXII edition of the reggae festival will be held in Benicassim (Spain) on august 15 to 22. Photo: Luca D’Agostino.

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Foto Luca d’Agostino/Phocus Agency

The lineup includes unmissable performances like that of Cutty Ranks, one of the artists to dominate the dancehall scene of the 90’s, or that of the Grammy award winning Black Chiney.

Every night at 22:00 there will be a dance master class.

Benicàssim | 29 June, 2015
The rhythm and spirit of the hottest parties in Jamaica will return this year to the DanceHall at Rototom Sunsplash. The lineup unites some of the most select Jamaican and European sound systems to represent the excellence of the current scene, together with artists of different styles.

The list of heavy weights features name like that of Cutty Ranks (Friday 21), one of the big stars of the golden era of dancehall in the 90’s, almost unbeatable when the rhythm of dancehall was mixed hip hop. He had some memorable combos with Tony Rebel, Marcia Griffiths and Beres Hammond. Lately he has come back in style with singles like “I don’t Believe it” and “Safe Travel”. His performance, the first ever at the festival, will be even more special if we take into account the fact that he will be accompanied by Rory from Stone Love, the most popular sound system on both the Jamaican and world scene.

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Another very special name for the dancehall enthusiasts is that of Killamanjaro (Saturday 15). Since being founded in 1969 this sound system grew with the history of reggae only to become one of the main forces in Jamaican dancehall during the crucial period of its expansion around the world: from the end of the 80’s and throughout the 90’s. The sound systems legend grew thanks to the army of deejays that made up its team, such as Super Cat. To celebrate their show on Main Stage on the night of Saturday 15, Killamanjaro will perform alongside Ricky Trooper, the selector who in the 90’s made the sound system unbeatable until he decided to abandon it and continue under the name of Sound Trooper. It will therefore be a night to remember, a unique opportunity for all dancehall enthusiasts.

That will not be the only night that the DanceHall will celebrate the performance of a headliner on Main Stage. Monday 17 will feature Black Chiney, the sound system of Walshy Fire, member of Major Lazer. Although based in Miami, Black Chiney is really a Jamaican sound system. Indeed its name actually refers to the racial mix of its collective, that formed by Chinese Jamaicans. The enormous success of Black Chiney is the result not only of their mad mixing of dancehall, R&B and hip hop, in a vast number of mix tapes and their rapid ascendance as a clash(musical battle between sound systems) sound system, but also of their prolific work as a label, producing great riddims. They won a Grammy for their work with Eminem and they were nominated with Bruno Mars.

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Benicassim, 21/08/2014 – Sunsplash 2014 – Dancehall / Heavy Hammer – Photo by Luca Valenta © Rototom 2014

The cream of the European scene will be represented by guests from five different countries. For one, Italy will have a strong presence, being the home of the resident crew that will perform every night. A combo formed by Heavy Hammer -consolidated as one of the best thanks to great results in the highest level of clash like the Sound Fi Dead in Brooklyn New York, the World Clash Reset in Jamaica or the UK Cup in London- and Lamapdread, from One Love Hi Powa, the first Italian sound system become famous abroad. Years at the heart of the Jamaican scene, a dub box full of incredible missiles, uncountable prestigious dances and their competing in epic clashes have made them popular enough to be awarded the International Reggae and World Music Award.

Apart from animating the crowd between acts the resident crew will present the young Italian artist Attila (Tuesday 18), as well as a special act on Thursday 20 which will see them sharing the stage with Gappy Ranks from the UK, a very versatile artist that moves between a solid deejay style and the influences of past masters redone from a more melodic perspective.

The European guests in the lineup will be headed by Saxon Sound (Saturday 22), celebrating their 40th anniversary. Founded in South London, they kindled the enormous talent of Maxi Priest before his stardom worldwide and they gained special visibility thanks to their army of deejays headed by Tippa Irie and Papa Levi, with whom they will appear at Rototom Sunsplash to finally perform together after 10 years. Over the last four decades, besides producing big hits for the likes of Dennis Brown or Gregory Isaacs, among others, Saxon has also had a big influence on artists like Massive Attack or The Bug.

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There will also be nights specially dedicated to the meeting of two European sound systems, that will share the stage to demonstrate that there are connections beyond the competition. The first (Sunday 16) will be run by the Germans Warriorsound International, resident sound system of one of the best reggae clubs in their country, alongside the Italians I-Shence. The second night (Tuesday 18), will see on stage Spider from the German sound system Supersonic, together with Sultan, from the Dutch sound system Herb-A-Lize It. Although both have fought it out in competitions like that of 2013 when they faced off for the King of Europe title, in no way has it affected their close friendship.

There will also be four Spanish sound systems at the DanceHall, representing a scene that despite its youthfulness is growing and maturing rapidly. Among them the name of Chronic Sound stands out. Born in Burgos and residing in Madrid, he is particularly active in the studio. His numerous mix tapes has led them to have more than forty thousand followers in soundcloud, as well as producing national and international with their label ‘ChronicTingRecords’. They will perform on two nights: the first, on Monday 17, and the second, on Wednesday 19, accompanied by Lasai and Yeyo, two artists that on this occasion will be MCs.

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Dj Lion, founder in 1999 of the sound system from Malaga King Wadada Sound (Tuesday 18), one of the most veteran sound systems in Spain, as well as Fire Warriors (Thursday 20), a collective from the Catalan shire of Osona formed in 2003 by a group of friends who despite their youth have participated in numerous festivals, in addition to being the Spanish sound system that has participated in the most clashes, twelve in all, will also be in the DanceHall. The Spanish contingent is completed by Unity Sound (Friday 21), that has accumulated more than 500 national and international shows behind them and continues to animate every Thursday night in Madrid for over a decade. Furthermore, they present their own programme on Ustream every Wednesday with the name Unity Sound TV.

In an area like the DanceHall, it is impossible not to want to learn the dance moves that characterize the different rhythms and styles. This year apart from the usual classes at the SunBeach, there will be a free dance master class each night from 22:00 to 23:00 under the tuition of seven international dancers. We are talking here, about the Jamaican Jr. Black Eagle, the Italian Alevanille, who came third in 2014 in the international Dancehall Queen competition held in Jamaica; Chazou (France) one of the founders of Alliance Kingz –a group of very popular dancers in France-; The Spaniard Irie Queen –founder of the first Spanish school of Jamaican dance and who will participate this year, for the first time; in the Dancehall Queen competition in Jamaica- and Rafa RedVolcon –winner of dancehall competitions like Big Up Kemp France, Urban Display Barcelona or DHI in Russia-; the German Swaggi Maggi and Ragga Shuco aka Bomb Tequila.

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