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Stone Love returns to Bermuda

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Stone Love Movement will stop in Bermuda this month as part of an international tour celebrating their 50th anniversary.

The Jamaican sound system is loved by “thousands of Bermudians” who grew up listening over the years.

Jamal Hart, of One Love Promotions, is organising the May 28 performance.

He can still remember the clash the group had with his brother Mtume’s sound system OGS Genesis, at Warwick Lanes in 1992.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Mr Hart, who worked that night as a crew member, transporting equipment, setting it up, testing and playing it.

“Back in the 1990s there were not many venues open to hosting reggae and dancehall events. So it was kind of an underground event. So it was very electric; it was a different vibe back them.”

It was also very hot – 200 youngsters crammed into the bowling alley.

“It was wall to wall people,” Mr Hart said.

OGS Genesis selectors from left: Laffi “Big Mon” Henry, Dwayne “Rich Kid” Ramatar, Jason Rayner and Mtume “Fada OGS” Hart with Jamal Hart of One Love Promotions in front (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Normally, it would take weeks or months for a sound system to order a dub plate from Jamaica and have it shipped here. OGS Genesis sent dancehall reggae DJs called “selectors” directly to the Caribbean nation so they could spend several weeks sourcing music.

“This is back in the vinyl days of records,” Mr Hart said. “Selectors would book studio time with the actual artists that performed that particular song that they wanted and then they would get them to customise their song with the name of their sound system. That made it a customised dub plate. Most times they are exclusive. The art and the skill and the aim and objective is to get the most exclusive dub plate that they can, to beat their competitor.”

Mr Hart no longer remembers exactly what music was played at the Warwick bowling alley that night but he does vividly recall the energy in the room when Stephen “Kibbles” Landy blew up the competition.

“He was probably about 25, the same age as me,” Mr Hart said. “He tore up the place. He really took it to Stone Love.”

In dancehall clashes, rival sound systems alternate playing for the evening; the crowd decides which system played the best.

“At the end of the night the crowd gave every indication OGS was the winner,” Mr Hart said. “That catapulted Kibbles into the atmosphere.”

Selector – a dancehall reggae DJ.

A sound system – comprised of selectors and their equipment.

Riddim – Jamaican patois for rhythm.

A dub plate – a special pressing of a record used by selectors to play an exclusive mix or pre-release track.

Juggling – a selector playing different versions of the same song on a riddim continuously

Stone Love has been here often since then. The last time was in 2019, when Buju Banton played at the Bermuda National Stadium.

Stone Love comes here on its 50th anniversary tour after playing before crowds in Oakland, California. The system will then go on to Europe and Japan.

“I thought it was fitting that they come for their 50th anniversary since they have a long history with us,” said Mr Hart, who thought it a great way to pay tribute to Stone Love and his friend “Kibbles”, who is now in poor health.

“He has been in the hospital for over a year,” he said. “I believe in giving people their flowers while they are still alive. Music, particularly reggae music, is Kibbles’ love.”

Stone Love no longer clash, but Billy Slaughter was notorious back when they did, Mr Hart said.

He and another selector, Geefus, are coming to Bermuda for the concert at the end of this month along with Winston “Wee Pow” Powell, the founder of Stone Love and the only one in the group that was at the clash in 1992.

With today’s technology things are a lot simpler than they were 40 years ago.

“The DJ comes in and plugs into the sound system and voila,” Mr Hart said. “Back then guys had their own sound systems. We are talking big heavy speakers and amps.

“The speaker boxes still have their same layout and design. What has changed is the quality in the amps which help power the speakers.”

OGS Genesis selectors Laffi “Big Mon” Henry, left, and Dwayne “Rich Kid” Ramatar (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Stone Love will perform at The Shed in Dockyard alongside OGS Genesis on May 28. Gates open at 11pm. Tickets are available at www.ptix.bm – $50 general admission; $125 for VIP tickets; $1,000 for a package of ten. Part of the proceeds will go to support the Sandys Secondary Middle School. For more information see OGS Genesis on Facebook and Instagram

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Published May 11, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated May 12, 2022 at 8:01 am)

Stone Love returns to Bermuda

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