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Tuesdays @ the theatre | ‘Dub Talks!’ takes Gussie Clarke to Rototom

Published:Monday | August 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
Gussie Clarke
Jimmy Cliff will be among the performers at the festival.
Tarrus Riley

As he speaks to The Gleaner about participating in the 2018 Rototom Sunsplash, Festival producer Augustus 'Gussie' Clarke (whose music group includes the Anchor Recording Studio and Dubplate Music Publishers) emphasises innovation. And it is this focus on creating something new that has led to the screening of Dub Talks! on August 19 in Benicassim, Spain, and Clarke being on the panel 'Dub Evolution Dub's Past, Present and Future', which immediately follows the over hour-long film.

On August 21, Clarke will also be on the panel 'Production Something The Current State of the Jamaican Music Industry', along with Jerome Hamilton of Headline Entertainment, Pat Meschino, and Dr Sonjah Stanley-Niaah of the University of the West Indies, Mona. Both discussions are part of Rototom's Reggae University programme.

Dub Talks! is included in the Dub Anthology, recently released by Clarke - a box set of over 70 dub recordings. To top it off, Clarke added the visuals of what he sums up as "a conversation between original players, engineers and sound system engineers and more", crediting Jamaica Music Museum curator Herbie Miller and Professor Clinton Hutton of the UWI, Mona, in the process.

The Rough Guide to Reggae (3rd edition) says "dub, in the now familiar sense of radically remixed versions, arrived in 1972, and was largely the contribution of one man: Osbourne Ruddock, aka King Tubby...". The second CD in the Dub Anthology box set has Screaming Target Dubs, Clarke having produced Big Youth's Screaming Target album also in 1972. Now, Clarke is certain about where dub music in Jamaica lies on the continuum outlined in the panel's title.




"Dub is for the past in Jamaica by Jamaicans, and that is regrettable," Clarke told The Gleaner. "After I did the anthology and the invitation (from Rototom) came to premiere it, I said, 'Let me see what is the situation there'. I was amazed to see there is such a dub culture outside Jamaica. And I am asking where did we (Jamaica) go wrong? I was amazed to see such a vibrant industry and really stunned to see what they have done. I applaud them."

In terms of response to Dub Anthology in Jamaica, Clarke said, "the few people who have called are collectors. That is understandable. That is the nature of things." However, he is taking a long-term view of the project, saying "It is not to sell CDs. It is for the preservation." There is also the hope of sampling by other persons, which would generate income from the anthology.

In discussing 'The Current State of Jamaican Music' at Rototom 2018, Clarke said, "I intend to not only speak from a personal perspective, but touch base with some producers who are doing well and incorporate it into my talk about how we are doing - can we do better and are we satisfied with where we are? I have to present or represent from the perspective of the entire industry and not my personal situation and viewpoint."

Among the Jamaican performers at the festival are Jimmy Cliff, Spice, Samory I, Kabaka Pyramid, King Jammy, Konshens, Julian Marley, Cocoa Tea featuring Koffee, Andrew Tosh, Protoje, Tarrus Riley with Dean Fraser and Sly & Robbie, featuring Yellowman, Johnny Osbourne, and Bitty McLean.