Dub and reggae sound system pioneer Jah Shaka has died

Known as the Zulu Warrior, Jah Shaka was a pioneering leader in the UK’s sound system culture

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Jah Shaka

Image: David Corio / Getty

Dub and reggae sound system pioneer Jah Shaka, also known as the Zulu Warrior, has sadly died.

News of his passing broke via social media, as close friends and collaborators have shared their tributes to the music icon. His precise age and the cause of his death have not yet been revealed.

The Jamaican-born singer, producer, musician and label owner was a pioneering leader in sound system culture – this integral part of Jamaican culture and history saw generations of DJs, engineers and MCs playing ska, rocksteady or reggae music in groups, and later influenced further dance music genres.

Shaka released some of the scene’s most seminal records and lead the influential Jah Shaka Sound System during his lifetime. He was performing and touring right up until his death.

You can read just some of the tributes from fellow creatives and fans to Shaka below:

Shaka moved to London from Jamaica as a child in the late 1950s as part of the Windrush generation. “When people left Africa for the Caribbean, all they could bring with them was their music, their songs and their memories from home,” he said in a Red Bull Music Academy lecture in 2014. “So, over the years, this is all that people had to keep them together.”

“In the 1950s and 1960s in London, there were house parties – 50, 60 people with only record players. It helped families know other families, which was important at that time because the people were so forced to be segregated.”

​​Shaka is survived by his five children, including son Young Warrior, who runs his own sound system, a representative confirmed to The Guardian.

Our thoughts are with the family, friends and fans of Jah Shaka.


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