It was a joyous occasion at the start of this month at the Corporate Pavilion in Miramar, Florida courtesy of the ‘Pre-Independence Day Fete’ hosted by Commissioner, Alexandra P. Davis. To celebrate the 59th Independence anniversary of the beautiful Caribbean Island of Jamaica, the free event featured great food, drinks and much more—including the opportunity for patrons in attendance to experience a slice of Jamaica’s storied sound system musical culture alongside Express International Sound, iStar Sound and selector ‘Big Belly Sky Juice’ from the iconic Metromedia sound system. The event’s live broadcast duties were handled by WZOP radio and production by I-Star Muzic.
Since the 1950s, sound systems in Jamaica have been a core component of the country’s ever vibrant musical landscape. Sound systems are massive audio setups to which turntable decks, amplifiers, and stacked-up speakers are strung together. In Kingston, Jamaica it was King Tubby, who built his first sound system in 1957, while standing at the forefront of transforming the music making process as a Dub Inventor and musician along with the likes of King Jammy and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.
Metro Media sound began and launched into the reggae and dancehall music space in the early 1970s and was first played by legendary selector, Petro Metro. He was later joined by the sound’s veteran and lead selector at present, ‘Big Belly Sky Juice’ or ‘the Big Belly One’—as he is popularly known across the reggae and dancehall spheres. ‘Sky Juice’ definitely is a character and fun to watch as he orchestrates the juggling segment of the venerable Metro Media. In that spirit, Sky Juice arrived at the Corporate Pavilion in Miramar and was immediately greeted by flocks of patrons. And ‘Sky Juice’ once he took the stage was in top form and brought a ‘whole heap’ of energy to the venue with a bag of gem selections from the 1990s in dancehall, as well as ’nuff’ reggae classics spanning decades.
Kudos to the City of Miramar and Commissioner, Alexandra P. Davis for putting on such a great event in celebration of Jamaica’s 59th Independence Anniversary. All those who attended certainly had a great time on a fantastic occasion where the country of Jamaica is concerned.
All photos taken by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.