It must have been around 1995, Kataklismos in Larnaca and some dude with a gambling habit, who also happened to own a club/bar behind ‘The Finikoudes’ (those tall reaching to the skies Palm Trees) had asked me to play. Oblivious to what was going on around me, I trod through the crowds with two boxes of vinyls, many people wondering what in the hell I was doing on this boiling hot day. The place itself was rectangular shaped with a long bar at the opposite end from the DJ box. It was rather kitschy, plastic and profoundly empty. Reggae in Cyprus around this time was superficially appreciated and the owner seemed quiet content, as he told me on the mobile. live and direct from a poker game at his local village coffee shop – ‘ezerosamen – no people – no money!!!’
Dont get me wrong. Bob Marley was one of the best songwriters and performers to ever grace the earth but in Cyprus at that time most people only knew one of his song, ‘Iron Lion Zion’ which I am sure had Bob been alive would not have been released with that kind of mix. People always referred to Marley as ‘Pop Marley’ as well, a point I always made every effort to correct.
So it was with much pleasure, and a degree of anxious caution that I returned to the same location on 20th April 2011 with The Roots Crew Sound System. Savino Live, as the place is now called is usually known for its live rock bands, so tonight was a bit of an experiment. Unlike 1995, this time there was some real promotion being done by Easy Going Productions. The sound had arrived around the same time as yours truly, and after some deliberations on where to set up, the system was linked up with meticulous detail. 3 decks, turntables that is, a nice juicy siren fx box, three mixers, a stack of speakers custom-made for reggae, some nice heavyweight amps, and my laptop!
Aside from the sound tonight there was clash happening in north London. Arsenal were playing Spurs at The Lane and I had already received a txt message from a Gooner proclaiming the 1-nil score. The sound check was done and I rushed off with Glen Klean, another Gooner, the Meeting Pub round the corner. By the time we got there is was 2-1…then 3-1…then just before half time 3-2. I had an intuition Spurs would not lose this game. Arsenal seemed just as fidgety as their manager. Arsen has become an incredible moaner lately and when they conceded a penalty, Van Der Vaart stepped and tucked the ball in the right hand of the net with precision. Glen was not amused but I was. 3-3 seemed like a just result all round after a real end to end type game. We mused on Wenger’s future on our way back to Savino via the car park, where I had to top up my parking ticket. Apparently the fine is now 85 Euros, what a shocker.
Any way, as we stepped up the alley way to the venue a substantial queue was in evidence. We got in and I was knocked back by the turn out. Ram jam session. Antonis from The Roots Crew was selecting, and as you can see from pic below (plz note the jacket being still on) I stepped right on the mic.
It was a great session. The sound was banging out nuff bass. The kind that makes the fillings in your teeth rattle and we selected til the wee hours. Big up all the Larnaca massive. This night was a far cry from 1995. Is there a more beautiful thing for the ears and eyes, people skanking to the sounds of roots reggae.
One tune, after the other, the hours passed by like minutes. They always do when you enjoy yourself selecting Jah music and chanting positivity on the microphone.
Thats ‘Hard Time’ spinning on the deck from Pablo Gad. Going out especially to Costantinos – Babylon policy a fallacy!!!
As we ended around 3.30 with The Twinkle Brothers closing the set people wanted more but that’s for the next session. There was a sound system to strip down, a van to load up, and a highway to trek along home. The best sessions are yet to come from The Roots Crew & Haji Mike….stay tuned!