SOUND CLASH CULTURE // Chris Dubbs Discusses the Future of Sound Clash with Chin (Irish and Chin)

Toronto dancehall fans have been fortunate: for the past two years, the World Clash sound clash competition has been hosted right here in the city. Two years ago, Caribbean entertainment specialists Irish and Chin adjusted the process of their international event so that the winning sound would receive the honour of bringing the World Clash to their hometown to defend their title.

With the 20th anniversary of World Clash taking place tonight in Toronto at the Tibetan Cultural Centre, reggae music lovers from Canada and international supporters who have travelled into the city to witness the show, will be treated to an evening of competition between the two-time champion King Turbo sound, and the Rumble Series champion sounds representing their own home towns, hoping to bring the event to their city next year in celebration.

Tonight, clash fans will get to hear the best of the best from Rumble Series winners from across the globe: Jah Works (Japan Rumble), Empire Sound and Mour Dan (UK Rumble), 3 Sevens (Caribbean Rumble), Deebuzz (European Rumble), Dynamq (U.S. Rumble), and Mystic Sound, the winner of the Canadian Rumble.

It is a process now well executed. From promotions, to music, regulations, and participants, the international brand that is World Clash has been 20 years in the making, and now a staple in the reggae and dancehall community. Based out of New York City, Irish and Chin have crafted this event to represent sound system lovers and practitioners, noting that this event is frequently regarded as the "pinnacle of their career" for participating sounds.

Yesterday evening, November 16, during an interview on The Vibe Drive with Chris Dubbs on Toronto's VIBE 105.5fm, Garfield "Chin" Bourne reiterated the importance of including international sounds, and sustaining the energy of the culture he has always loved. In town for the big event, he noted that there were other sound clash fanatics who contacted him, letting him know that they, too, were flying into Toronto to take part in the 20th year celebration of the event.

Each city and country has its own vibe and their own way of appreciating the music. "The energy is mixed," Chin told Chris Dubbs. "In Japan, there is a great acceptance for the culture, and the fans come out in the hundreds. The UK also has a strong sound clash culture," he said. "The Caribbean has a strong culture, but it needs to be developed." Mentioning that the focus in the Caribbean tends to be on Jamaica, the original home of the sound clash, Chin also believes that the enjoyment should span across the greater Caribbean. "We want to give the Bajans and the Trinis a chance as well," he said. "Every place has a different energy, and a different dynamic."

Chin, who started out in music as a selector in U.S., was always a fan of hardcore dancehall. Growing up in the vibrant New York dancehall scene, patronizing locations like the Biltmore Ballroom, and Amazura, he knew from early that this was a culture that he would be committed to. Just like music has changed over the decades, however, so has technology, the industry, and the cultural ambassadors that communicate and share the sounds.

"We need to modernize the sound clash tradition," said Chin, internationally regarded as a leader in the culture. "We need to work to make it more attractive." He recommended a change to the emphasis on dubplates, and instead focusing on talent, hype, energy, and crowd enjoyment during sound clashes. Chin would like to see the sound clash evolve into more of a musical competition, awarding those who have the most vibes, instead of those who have the most expensive vibes (via dubplate). "We should bring back 45's, and encourage sounds to be creative with their music. Find people who can be themselves."

Both Chris Dubbs and Chin agreed that the youth are an important factor in the culture's relevance and longevity. Thankful to have Chin on The Vibe Drive reggae radio program to discuss sound clash culture and the related processes, Dubbs believes that everyone has to play their respective parts in supporting and sustaining the evolution.

"We are extremely proud that World Clash has stood the test of time," said Chin in a World Clash news release. "Our goal is to have the World Clash brand and the phenomenal art of sound clash continue to wow international audiences for years to come." He added: "I am equally interested for new sound system stars to achieve notoriety and success, while new fans are introduced to the allure and thrill of sound clash."

Congratulations to Irish and Chin for their contributions and professional conscientiousness!

Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.


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