« A cavalòt sus la version », straddling the version, this line from one of Massilia Sound
System’s songs might seem a bit obscure for many people, but fans of Jamaican music and the Sound System culture will immediately recall how the DJ turns over the lovely little vinyl record and plays the song as an instrumental so that the MCs re-create their music by re-interpreting their own song. This move encapsulates the innovation that was Sound System: facility, immediacy, reactivity moving this musical form towards a truly new format, a brilliant and easily accessible invention that has rekindled a world-wide interest in Jamaican music and encouraged many people to make use of B-sides to express their reality.
Launched in the mid-1980s, Massilia Sound System is a reggae band from Marseilles whose members have developed a Provençal version of rub-a-dub. Their lyrics demonstrate their deep love for their city. But, for this Marseillais reggae band it is not just about the music. In the late 1980s, their objective was to introduce the Jamaican sound system in Marseilles’ musical scene: reggae records with instrumental versions, big amplifiers and mikes for rapping. Living and playing in their home town, singing in French and Occitan, finding musical instruments from all over the world and absorbing them into their local culture, welcoming Others and thus becoming more Oneself: that’s Massilia Sound System, neighbours with the whole world and yet proud of their roots …. They gave Marseilles back to the Marseillais in the 1990s and, at the same time, handed a whole generation of Marseilles’ younger generation a positive identity, proud of their city and its capacity to embrace many cultural traditions.
Today, by releasing a box set with its ten 7-inch vinyls in autumn 2022, with a much lighter line-up closer to their early years, Massilia Sound System DJ SET invites younger generations to rediscover the spirit of Sound System. Record players and mikes: 1 DJ and the MC to bring people together and put everyone from 8 to 80 onto the dance floor.
article posted by:Emmanuelle Tirmarche, Manivette Records