Features — 26 March 2009 — by Linda Blease
People readily recognize sound systems like Stone Love, Renaissance Sound, Mighty Crown and Coppershot to name a few, and why not? After all these international sounds are respected and loved for knowing how to “lick off dih tune”. I am one of those people who always gets into an argument of which sound is the best when it comes to sounds international and local. It surprises me how familiar people are with these people, they talk about it as if it were a class in International Sounds 101. Respect to those sounds every time, they have done the hard work and earned their names, but so have the senior sounds in Belize. By senior sounds I mean the musical fraternities, some that have nurtured music and are responsible for some big names on the Belizean scene.
Stone Jam, a name known internationally in the sound system business, has been around for over 30 years. Elden “Stone Jam” Hyde, the man who made the name what it is today, has been involved in music since he was a young man growing up. His father had previously owned the record store at the George Street location in Belize City where he is based today, and if you ever speak to him and ask him “when did you get into music” he will reply, “I have always been around music.” When he was scouting for a name, a very good friend from California suggested the name “Stone Jam”. The friend suggested to Hyde that he should call his sound “Stone Jam” after the 80’s group Slave’s hit record “Stone Jam”. His friend felt that would be a great name to give a sound and it indeed was a perfect fit. Today everyone in Belize knows who Stone Jam is. It has been 30 solid years in the business. “Fada Stone” as people now refer to him is one of the main people responsible for introducing dancehall to Belize in the 80’s, pushing it one by one in the dance, a little bit of Yellow Man here a little rub-a-dub tune there and soon created what was called “Caribbean Night” at the Pub. The “Pub” was a club located on North Front Street that used to be open back in the 80’s. The push that he gave to dancehall back then brought the onset of the love we now have for the music. Stone Jam has also nurtured some popular Djs out of his camp like Kwame Scott, Dj Bones, Dj Busch and Dj Special to name only a few. The members that make up a part of the Stone Jam Family today are Dj Jaro and Dj Ras.
Another Senior Sound in Belize is the sound known as Belizean Movements with its present members, Dj Dalla, Dj Bones, Dj Scorpio and Lindy D. They weren’t the original members of the group, the original members were Dj Dalla who was previously with Rick the Ruler, Dj Scorpio who had a sound called Lion Heart and Dj Busch who was a part of the Stone Jam Family. Dj Busch is no longer in the group. Dj Bones who use to play music with Rick the Ruler and Stone Jam, they also added Lindy D to the musical fraternity. This year will make 9 years that the sound Belizean Movements has been in existence. The name Belizean Movements was a name brought up by Dj Dalla and wasn’t a hit at first mention. It was said the name sounded like that of a band but they stuck with it all the way and as the popularity of the group grew, the name was accepted.
Cloud 9 Sound, a 15-year-old sound in Belize which is based in the capital city Belmopan is founded by two brothers Flava and Benz. The name Cloud 9 Sound was brought up when they were brainstorming a name for their sound. They wanted something that would appeal to people’s senses so they came up with Cloud 9. Cloud 9 Sound doesn’t only play at the club; they also work in promotion of events. Their members at the moment are Dj Flava, Dj Benz and Dj Fingaz. They express great admiration for Stone Jam who they say is somebody they look up to in the business that has taught them a lot and continues to teach them.
Blue Steel Sound, under the disguise of a tint shop on Freetown Road has been in musical operation for 10 years. They have a hefty resume under their belt from running the music at the Club formerly known as Charisma, to playing along with Presi-D when he was on Krem Radio. The members of Blue Steel Sound, namely Wally, Selector Joe and EA have a different approach to the sound system business. They Dj but mostly thrive on providing the sound system rental for Djs who have none. When asked how they got the name, they explained that they got it from their old boss Mr. O-Rielly. He use to tell them stories of his great grandfather from 5 generations back who claimed to be a part of a notorious bank-robbing gang who called themselves Blue Steel. The brothers decided to go with that name. They expressed more enjoyment in playing for personal events than the over-hyped ones.
Da Dignitariz, are a Krem based sound that has been in existence for the past 6 years. The original members of Da Dignitariz, Mad Rocka, Sampla, Bigga Ford (who is still on the sound), and Orson Picart. Sampla left the sound a few years ago to move to the US, and Orson Picart changed pace to Dj on another sound while also doing another thing he does best, Television. The current members of Da Dignitariz are Bigga Ford, Keran Rocke, and Mad Rocka who is a senior in his own light, can slam the crowd with perfect selections, but has gradually shifted from the Dj role on the sound to manager. Bigga Ford has a very strong MC voice that is very distinct and recognizable when he speaks. Over the years they have run the music at Clubs such as Honey Bees and Palm Island, and have been the highlight of numerous club events.
These are some of the people who entertain us and distribute music whether it be on the radio, in the clubs, over the net, or in stores. They deserve respect because they have made it possible for anybody with a cd mixer to put on a headphone, juggle tunes, and call themselves a Dj.