Rebel County Fyah

Independence and unity...two concepts or states of being that would at first seem to be at odds with each other. However in a great display of unity last weekend a crew led by Revelation Sound pulled off one of the most memorable independently produced weekenders in the history of reggae music in Ireland. It's taken me til today to catch up with life sufficiently to sit down and write something, but let me say from the outset that I personally (and I think I can speak somewhat for Shimmy here too) left Cork with a feeling of inner well being that was thanks in no small part to the vibe with all the crew involved...

A bus journey, we thought would provide a wonderful opportunity to drink in the countryside while flicking through tunes and dubs, and we did a little of that, but mostly it was laugh and banter. Traffic heading down to Oxegen and Castlepalooza caused slight delays but we were well on track to hit Cork for showtime. We stepped off onto the quays and were quickly joined by Shimmy's sister, who quickly started employing some Jedi mind trick that thickened up my partner's accent to the point where she could pass for a local again, and with that done we were straight up to the venue to take a look. This is in no way Revelation's first event at The Pavillion, but we'd never had the pleasure of visiting before and I immediately loved it! We were met at the door by Jeremiah Revelation (with hugs) and after stopping for a quick look at the bar level where the all day session would be happening on the Sunday, we went up to check out the venue upstairs where the main Sound System sessions would be taking place. With ornate ceilings and tiered layout it's an incredibly nice room. I'm not sure of the history but as you may see from the photo's it resembles an old dance hall or theater, kitted out with a pretty hefty house PA (props for the analogue Midas console at FOH). This however was not going to be switched on (apart from the stage mons). There were bigger plans for the weekend. Already set up and  being warmed before doors by Benji, was a big stack of Revelation sound, while the I Kingdom Sound was also already set up for the Sunday night clash. The little green room was buzzing, and I hope that by leaving all our stuff piled up in there for the night we helped bring everyone a little closer (by being forced to stand so). Mind you they may have been cursing us! :D

Jah Shaka
Ras Tinny and Bibi Ewa arrived with Doc Inity (Kebra Ethiopia Sound S.A.), and soon it was busy with Cork crew arriving as time to doors got closer. VJ Present was onstage to provide visuals, which were looking sweet. Jim is also the visual artist with local psychadelic dubbers "Wiggle" and World Bass Culture. Know's his onions. We nipped around the corner to The Roundy for a quick drink and when we got back the session was in full flight. Revelation were pumping out the dubs on high power, in Roots & Rastafari style, as Fyahred's voice swooped and soared around the conscious chant vibes from Ras Tinny and Benji, who run the sound with Miah on their new or fairly recently acquired Jah Tubby's preamp. If you've never seen one of these they're a slightly confusing piece of equipment at first glance, usually because they are a rack unit covered in knobs and toggle switches, with no indication on the face panel as to what anything does. However they basically provide some amount of dynamic control in the form of basic channel EQs, and a ten band rotary graphic, along with a filter section and a couple of effects sends. They allow you to run your system four-way, with corresponding kill switches for the top, mids and bass sections. There is no visual feedback from LED strips or meters, so you gotta fly one of these by the ears, and not forget which knob is where. I got to twiddle with their other Preamp on Sunday, as that was running Revelation wall-of-sound number two which we played on, and I found it rather nice experience! It was time for a lesson from a master as Jah Shaka stepped on stage, with Revelation having decided to move over and give the Zulu Warrior as much time as possible. At this point I wasn't feeling very motivated to charge my phone so one picture is all I managed before the dub made me forget... I wasn't aware that local laws in Cork meant a two o'clock curfew, and too early the dance was at an end, but what atmosphere. It was Shimmy's sister's first full on Dub Session experience, and she was mad for more reggae as we left. "Soon come," we said as we ate our chips and discussed fishing and trekking in the Russian wilderness with strangers in Burger King, as the Ital way of life had not quite rubbed off on us during the night.. After two offers of places to stay in the city from some more strangers, we eventually cut a deal with a taxi driver and drove out to Whitegate for the night.

Saturday  meant a trip to Middleton to pick up some of Green Saffron's spices from the farmers market (oo-arr), and some family visits. Being out of Dublin was nice, and we were kinda winding down so by the middle of the day we'd decided that we'd skip the trip back into Cork that night. Shimmy doesn't get down to Cork that often so it was really nice to hang with her clan, in the still relaxed tone which the weekend had taken on, but with lots of laughs and a fair sprinkling of lunacy. Highlights included a wonderful Indian curry from the aforementioned market stall, looking for mad stuff in second hand shops, and Shimmy's three year old nephew pissing in the little tray in the car between the gear stick and the handbrake when his mother wasn't looking. Awesome little dude! Speakers were got, a party convened and at 5 that morning we were having a Dub session with some local teenagers, banging out their own dubstep tunes from the loops loaded up on the F1. Have to say it doesn't sound easy to grow up there these days...seems to be a lot of trouble and strife a gwaan, but despite that the kids all seemed pretty clued into life, and were facing up to the future with a bit more drive and direction than a lot of my generation ("Sure it'll all be grand!" we said). Great bunch, tight crew, and not afraid to say they love each other. And no, they weren't on pills...

I Kingdom, Revelation & Rootical Sounds setting up.
Sunday was battle stations.  While I was standing on a hill at the back of the house with my phone held in the air trying to get my emails, Emma Revelation (aka Fyahred) called Shimmy to ask could we cover an extra slot, and we said of course. The slightly laissez fair attitude we'd fallen into in preparation for the gig was paying off in spades. If we'd had a plan it'd have been the wrong plan now, so we we're in good shape. It's hard to tell what an "all-day-ting" with lots of crews will turn out like. We'd originally been looking at a more roots & dub set, with a bit of live dubbing with Traktor's Remix Decks, but  the atmosphere and the chat on Friday night, along with a phonecall with Ras Tinny during which he reported on Saturday night's success, were all pointing us a little higher in energy. We'd received a special to drop, which has a nice light steppas vibe, and there were people chatting about playing ragga jungle and stuff so we left things a bit open til we saw what the vibe was like. Goodbyes were said and we hit the road for The Pavillion again, arriving in time to catch Jason Rootical and his crew getting their sound ready for the clash. Great to see the three sounds ready to rumble...sadly not a sight you often see in Ireland. That might change though... It was at this point that I got around to mapping the VST siren to the Kontrol F1. Finally. Downstairs the sound was running and Rik Appleby's "Lionheart" were rockin' the bar. Party time we decided...tempo up a little and keep it phat and bouncy. I was still line checking and getting a helpful run through from Rik and from Benji (who was on hand if I was muddled by the JTS Pre, or tried to blow the shite out of his sound) when Shimmy launched in with Luciano's Rub-A-Dub Market and it was on...the place continued to fill and there was a good party buzz building. We had that Dirty Dubsters "Summer Of Dub" track to drop, and when it did I could see grins on faces that were bouncing up and down all around the room...big ups lads, and big ups to Sista Quanna and rest of the AYA Crew in JA...(Blessed LOVE fi di dubplate. Give thanks!) Shimmy had also gotten something nice from Steppa Style, and we'd a couple of our own edits, so the set ran through everything from steppas to dancehall and ragga flavoured breaks touching on d'n'b before we handed over to Spetz and Man G Killamanselector (of World Bass Culture renown).

We'd never played a gig in Cork before so our collective cherry was now in tatters. We chatted a bit with peolpe who were there, stripped out the equipment and hit the venue upstairs to catch some of Pressure Drop Soundsystem, and Professor Ruff Chuff, before falling prey to the munchies and heading out to find food. We bumped into MC Cian Finn a few streets away, returning with noodles, which was tempting, but we stuck it out and stumbled upon a little diamond of a place called ORSO, which sells top notch food at kebab shop prices. If you are ever in Cork I recommend a visit if you like fusion type fare. Posh meal over, we strolled back in a quickly figured out that jumping around in front of a soundsystem would have to now wait a bit and grabbed a couple of comfy chairs down in the bar while Bellyman played a wonderful selection which kept us there til Worries Outernationl selecter Andy Culture took over to close the night, dancehall guns ablaze, firing from their awesome collection of dubplates. By that point we were a bit more digested so the soundclash was attempted again, this time successfully. I can't tell you who won, or if there was a winner, or if there was ever meant to be one, but it was really going off up there. Sadly I Kingdom's Sound had failed to fire up, but were accommodated by the ever loving Revelation. These things happen, and tomorrow is another soundclash. The Rootical Sound System was as enormous sounding as ever, and made me wish for the days of Mantua again...

So with both rooms exploding with vibes, the night, and the Irieland Roots & Reggae Festival came to a close. Congratulations and respect, and not forgetting thanks, are due to Revelation Sound, and all the Crew in Cork who made it happen. Looking forward to catching up most of you at Electric Picnic. Big ups!

That wasn't all though... We drove out of town with Cian Finn, who told us about his upcoming tours of North America and Asia, (they'll love him...and with his charismatic performances he'll have no trouble!), to a really cool farmhouse where a few of the World Bass Culture guys live, and spent a really nice few hours chilling with music from Scandal Rankin's Simon, and Miah Revelation, and eating blueberry pizza (which I think is patented by Ruff Chuff Laboratories, but I suggest you try it on the sly...). After a couple of hours kip we discovered the River Lee running right through their back garden, which also has lots of fruit trees and a substantial organic plot. Lucky gits can also make as much noise as they want out there, as there's nobody to hear it. The sun was baking so most of the day was spent crashed on the lawn and chatting to the guys. Doc Inity needed to catch a flight back to South Africa so we headed back to Dublin with a very tired Ras Tinny who'd been doing airport runs at seven that morning. Plans were afoot for a quick WBC dubplate session in Dublin before Doc flew out, but I'm not sure if the time gods allowed for that in the end, because once we got into the house I fell asleep for about 4 hours and haven't spoken to Tinny since. Go to the next WBC night and let me know! ;)

Cork, and more importantly, the people that are from Cork (even those who weren't!) thanks for being so warm and welcoming, we left inspired. See you again after The Picnic. Much love x



  1. Boom Boom, Revelation Crew!Giving much thanks for the heartical vibes and words. Clashing of sounds, joining of tribes, the winner was the dancing soul between sound system base waves...Jahhhhhhhhhhhh

  2. Loved the Irieland set. Great vibes all round. Three days of magic in the rebel county. See you all at Trenchtown!