“Each One Teach One”: Music and the Pedagogical Dimensions of Reggae Sound System Culture
ABSTRACT: The objective of this article is to characterize, deepen, and appraise the pedagogical dimensions of sound system culture. Historically, sound systems were catalyzers of music production in Jamaica, and after their expansion to the UK in the 1950s, and later to the five continents, sound systems affected audiences in a way that turned them into sound listeners and creators. Sound system cultures are building a consumption, music production, and learning environment for a genre that is not engaged in the mainstream music market, fostering its underground activities and motivating people to fight for their rights in the process. The idea of Jamaican reggae sound system sessions as what sociologist Lisa Amanda Palmer calls “self-generated sites of learning,” and of soundmen and soundwomen (as they are known in the culture) as nonformal and informal educators, is at the center of this article’s argument. These themes are developed by examining several aspects of sound system culture: the internal practices of apprenticeship; pedagogical activities developed by soundcrews, like film screenings and roundtables before the sessions; academic events designed to bring practitioners and academics closer together, like the Sound System Outernational conference; and events carried out by music festivals and other happenings. The fields of community learning theory, musicology, film studies, reggae studies, sound system studies, and popular music studies support the discussion in a transdisciplinary theoretical framework. The article uses documentaries, films, and videos on reggae music and sound system culture as crucial sources of testimony and information about the people who make this cultural manifestation possible.
How to cite this article: Vidigal, Leonardo. 2022. “‘Each One Teach One’: Music and the Pedagogical Dimensions of Reggae Sound System Culture” Music Research Annual 3: 1–19. https://doi.org/10.48336/6ezc-f791
About the author: Leonardo Vidigal is Professor of Film Studies in the Department of Photography and Cinema at the Fine Arts School of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He is also part of the Sound System Outernational research group.